The April selection for The Kitchen Reader book club was My Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a Time by Gesine Bullock-Prado chosen by Shelley of My Little Chickadees.
I actually got this book for Christmas and read it a few months ago. First I have to profess my disappointment in the title of the book. My Life From Scratch is the paperback edition of what was originally called the much more risque-but-amusing Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman’s Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker (link is to the Kindle version). The new hardcover version seems to be called Starting Over, One Cake at a Time. Ok publishers, you’re terrified of offending anyone, we get it.
When I first heard of the book it was because of a video promotion the author had done. It was a bit sassy, but straight-forward. My curiosity was piqued.
My mom read the book right after me, and her comment was, “No one would care if her sister wasn’t famous.” To some extent, I agree. Her story wouldn’t be as dramatic if she had quit any pedestrian job and opened a bakery. There are plenty of people who do that. But her sister is famous and she wrote a book about it. So there.
Having seen the video, I felt the earnest-if-not-eloquent writing is close to her real voice. It may be brusque at times, but she never claims to be otherwise. It was an easy read, which was good, because I read most of it at the hospital sitting with my dad. The bad part about that is the main reason Bullock-Prado quit her high-pressure job was because she re-evaluated her priorities after her mother died of cancer. While her experience definitely resonated with me (especially as a fellow stress-baker), it was a little too close-to-home at the time.
Perhaps with a bit of distance I could actually enjoy the book more, though at the time I appreciated her honesty and the look inside her decision to quit her high-stress job to do something she really wanted to do. Could she have been this successful without her sister? Maybe not, but she is.
There are also amazing-sounding dessert recipes sprinkled throughout, but I didn’t actually try any of them. The book itself is a bit like a light, sugary dessert: sweet, but not substantial.