[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Kindle
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | iBooks[/alert]

Although Life Without a Recipe is not as captivating as previous books by Diana Abu-Jaber, it does offer interesting insights into family life. Abu-Jaber shares stories of her grandmother, Grace (who loved sweets), and her father, Bud, with his wry sense of humor. Grace insists marriage is not the end-all and Bud wants Abu-Jaber married above all else. No surprise that this memoir surrounds the crossroads of the Middle Eastern vs. Western lifestyle and, of course, food. Abu-Jaber shares her failed marriages, difficulty writing, and her third marriage to what appears to be a soul mate. A big portion of the book gives the reader a glimpse into the heartbreak of infertility when Abu-Jaber finally decides motherhood might be for her after all.

This book feels very personal and Abu-Jaber tells all as she inspects the path of her life, surrounded by family expectations and her own beliefs. She writes frankly and honestly, and it will be easy for the reader to connect to the story. Abu-Jaber glosses over some events that, with more detail, could have created a more interesting book. Although this book did not completely suck me in, the story encompassing motherhood was told with humor and honesty that this reviewer found refreshing.

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