Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry: Kathleen Flinn

Maybe it was the thumbnail picture of  the Tower d'Eiffel  on the cover. Maybe it was the enthusiastic quote by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love). Maybe it was the mysteriously dangerous title. Whatever the reason, I picked up The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn at the library book sale. The back cover said something about a woman on an adventure to pursue her passion at Le Cordon Bleu. I am only vaguely interested in cooking, but I am over-the-moon-in-love with all things French, so I hoped this read would immerse me in all things Parisian.

The story is somewhat familiar. Kathleen Flinn is unhappy with climbing the corporate ladder. She's a journalist who has been swept away into a career she doesn't even like. Fortune smiles on her and she is fired from her job. It turns out to be the best possible thing because it allows Flinn to finally pursue a lifelong dream--to earn a diploma from THE Le Cordon Bleu, in the beautiful City of Lights, Paris, France. She writes about her experiences, which vary from the mundane to the comically absurd. She meets an array of people from all walks of life, and is challenged in every way possible.

As a memoir, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry isn't eventful. There are no real life lessons to be learned from this book, except maybe that we should always follow our bliss (which I'm hoping we've all learned by now, after the avalanche of uplifting memoirs about how great life can be when you do what you love). There is drama, there is comedy, there is love, there are shed tears and peals of laughter. There are eccentric chefs, and bizarre house guests, and friendly shop owners. There are also pages and pages of mouth-watering French recipes.

In short, unless you are passionate about France, food, or French food, this book doesn't have much to offer the average reader. However, if you get excited by a good cheese and wine pairing, or if you lose yourself in daydreams about walking the Seine by moonlight, this is a book to get lost in.

Rating: $$


  1. Have you read "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris? He describes his adventures in Paris in part of it.

  2. I have! And I did enjoy it and all of it's Frenchi-ness. ;)

  3. Hello! Thank you for an interesting review!

  4. I gave this to my sister because she recently had a midlife crisis, went to Le Cordon Bleu to learn to be a chef, ans is cooking in a fancy hotel in Bavaria. She loved it, but then, she just about lived it.

    I am so jealous that you got so many good books at the library book sale. It is the event I wait for all year and I was out of town this time. Drat!

    Rose City Reader

  5. RCR--I am so jealous of your sister's adventure! I hope she's happy with her choices.

    I never miss a library book sale! A chance to add to my collection AND support the local libraries? You bet!