I wonder how often Ruth Reichl sits back and thinks, “I can't believe this is my life.”
Because as I read Garlic and Sapphires, like when I read Comfort Me with Apples, I had several moments when I could hardly believe I was holding a biography. The characters, the anecdotes, the whole story arc…too good to be true, it seemed.
In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl writes of her time as the New York Times restaurant critic — a job she made all the more interesting by adopting different personae to go unrecognized at the city's finest establishments.
But beyond Reichl's extraordinary experiences and enviable career, I suppose I'm so in awe of her life because she is a brilliant storyteller. Her memoirs are a thrill to read, and the restaurant reviews peppered throughout Garlic and Sapphires show Reichl's range and skill. New Yorkers might have disagreed with her gastronomic opinions, but they all ought to have admired her narrative style.
I loved the book. I only wish there were photos of her in costume because I'd love to see this woman as blonde and polished Chloe, hippie redhead Brenda, 68-year-old Betty Jones or tweed-clad meanie Emily Stone.
I can't wait to hear more of Reichl's great stories when she comes to speak at the Skirball Center in LA next month!