Saturday, 16 April 2011

Review: Starting Over One Cake at a Time by Gesine Bullock-Prada

My edition: Hardcover, published in 2011 by Allison & Busby, 270 pages

Description: As head of her celebrity sister's production company, Gesine Bullock-Prado had a closet full of designer clothes and the ear of all the influential studio heads, but she was miserable. The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. With every sugary, buttery confection to emerge from her oven, Gesine took one step away from her glittery, empty existence—and one step closer to her true destiny. Before long, she and her husband left the trappings of their Hollywood lifestyle behind, ending up in Vermont, where they started the gem known as Gesine Confectionary. And they never looked back.

Starting Over One Cake at a Time follows Gesine's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider to reluctant master baker. Chock-full of eccentric characters, beautifully detailed descriptions of her baking process, ceaselessly funny renditions of Hollywood nonsense, and recipes, the ingredients of her story will appeal to anyone who has ever considered leaving the life they know and completely starting over.

Review:

Author Gesine Bullock-Prado writes in a humorous way about her former Hollywood life and how she eventually finds her true calling in the one occupation she always took solace in when life became too stressful: baking.

To get the big question out of the way first, yes the author is the younger sister of actress Sandra Bullock. But those who start reading the book expecting to find Bullock's dirty little secrets on display will be thoroughly disappointed. Instead "Sandy" is mentioned in regularity as the helpful older sister and at times the reader forgets Bullock-Prado is actually talking about the Hollywood star.

Personally I expected Starting Over One Cake at a Time to be a combination of a chick-lit and Hollywood superficiality but on contrary, it's an honest and often hilarious memoir about Bullock-Prado's childhood in Germany and later on the United States where she does not shy away from recounting her mistakes both as a child and adult. Having German ancestors myself I felt a familiarity in her wonderful descriptions of the towns, customs and delicious baked good that made the book even more real and fascinating to me. And on top of that every chapter ends with a mouth-watering recipe fitting to the story - pure pastry heaven for an amateur baker such as myself.

10/10

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