07 June 2014

Weekend Cooking: Corked by Kathryn Borel

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Confession: I picked up Kathryn Borel's Corked because I liked the tag line: "A father. A daughter. The wine trip to end all wine trips." I like wine, I like to travel, I like France, and I love my dad. What could be bad about Corked? Unfortunately, a lot.

Canadian-born journalist Kathryn Borel took a trip through the French countryside with her hotelier wine-expert father, Philippe. For twenty-something Kathryn, the trip was supposed to be a learning experience as well as a way to show her father that she had reached adulthood. For Philippe, the trip not only was a return to his native land but was also a way to share his wine knowledge with his daughter.

In reality, this memoir is not so much about wine and France but more about Kathryn's failed relationships and lingering depression over a past tragedy. Both she and her father come off as selfish and self-indulgent, and neither is particularly mature. Further, we learn very little about the vintners, vineyards, and wines, which seem almost an afterthought.

Although I was disappointed with Corked, other readers may have an easier time relating to Kathryn and Philippe's rocky relationship. And if they do, they may also find satisfaction in what was clearly meant to be a redemption scene near the end of the memoir. For me, it was a matter of too little, too late. Note that both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly were more positive about the memoir, so if you're curious, give it a try.

I'll leave you with Kathryn's big revelation about tasting wine:
Well, mostly I figured out that it's impossible to force a connection--that sometimes, if I'm not in the right mood, no matter how great the wine is, there's very little chance that it'll have any impact. (p. 258)
Published by Hachette Book Group / Grand Central Publishing, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780446409506
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


jama 6/7/14, 7:15 AM  

What a disappointment. The title *did* sound so promising. Thanks for your candid review.

Jackie McGuinness 6/7/14, 7:28 AM  

Based on your review I'll give this a pass.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/7/14, 7:39 AM  

Wow, that's disappointing! Well we made the French wine trip, and my conclusion wasn't much more epiphany-like: "I like Napa better." :--)

bermudaonion 6/7/14, 8:25 AM  

I read this a few years ago and felt pretty much the same way. It didn't live up to my expectations.

Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice 6/7/14, 8:31 AM  

I picked this book up (maybe a year or so ago?) for the exact same reasons: I love wine, road trips, travel memoirs, and father/daughter stories. I've yet to crack it open. Don't know if I'll bother now. Oh well, it looks nice on my shelf.

Unknown 6/7/14, 8:39 AM  

Too bad you didn't care for it. I find some memoirs difficult, especially if the author has an outlook on life or manner that I don't care for.

Beth S. 6/7/14, 9:04 AM  

Hmmm... that does seem a bit of a misleading title and tagline. Definitely won't be reading this one.

Rhiannon 6/7/14, 9:08 AM  

This would have been a book that would have appealed to me: wine, roadtrip, bonding but it sounds like it is filled with less of the wine-making / tasting experience and more with the family struggle. Thanks to your review, I'll probably pass on this. There are so many other books that will fit what I'm looking for

Rachel 6/7/14, 9:47 AM  

I'm with you. I want to read about how the father and daughter explored the French wine regions and bonded, not heard about family drama. That's how I felt about Eat, Pray, Love, too. I wanted less of her internal whingeing and more about what she was discovering in Italy, Bali and India.

TP 6/7/14, 10:20 AM  

Sorry this one didn't work out for you - ugh! But I do like the quote you put up. It's so true.

Tanya Patrice

Anonymous,  6/7/14, 10:21 AM  

How disappointing :( I was all ready to get my own copy when I read the description, but think I will pass now that I read the review. Thank you for your honesty.

Anonymous,  6/7/14, 10:46 AM  

Good to know that this won't be a book I add on my to-read list. Memoirs can be great, but we all have family drama - I don't need to read about someone else's.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 6/7/14, 10:54 AM  

I would have thought I would have liked this too.

JoAnn 6/7/14, 1:47 PM  

So disappointing! Don't think I would have liked it much either.

Joy 6/7/14, 3:24 PM  

That sounds rather sad, actually. Maybe it would be more appealing to other 20-somethings who are in a different place in the dad & daughter development.

Joy's Book Blog

Carole 6/7/14, 3:44 PM  

I guess some people who write memoirs just aren't that nice to know! Cheers

rhonda 6/7/14, 4:26 PM  

Liked the title but will pass after reading your review.too many books on my pile to waste time.

Teddyree 6/8/14, 12:14 AM  

the tagline would have sold me too but after reading your review I'll give this one a miss. Considering the title it's disappointing that the whole wine thing was a bit of an afterthought!

Anonymous,  6/8/14, 2:31 AM  

A shame you found it disappointing, I don't drink wine, Ive just never liked the taste

Couscous & Consciousness 6/8/14, 3:21 AM  

I probably would have been hooked into that too - sounds like a great premise for a book. Shame that it proved to be so disappointing.

Belle Wong 6/8/14, 8:18 PM  

With a tagline like that, I know I would have expected more about wine and France, with maybe a touch of food thrown in, too. It's too bad it wasn't that type of memoir.

Catch My Words 6/8/14, 8:35 PM  

If you don't like the characters and the plot is a downer, it's tough to last through a novel with these fictional folks.


Peaceful Reader 6/11/14, 9:25 PM  

The title is snappy. It is too bad the follow-through did not work.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 6/12/14, 2:42 PM  

That does sound like it would be a good book. Oh well, some just don't work well in actuality.

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