Book review: Leftovers by Stella Newman
If Stella Newman’s tasty debut novel Pear Shaped left you hungry for more, then prepare for a feast of fun – and pasta – in her delicious follow-up.
Leftovers serves up the same winning blend of fresh, original humour, charismatic characters, a warm, intelligent and perceptive take on contemporary life and large helpings of food, glorious food.
This is clever rather than cloying chick-lit, the perfect balancing act of uplifting fiction and gritty realism which gets to the heart of what it means to be a young woman in today’s high pressure, big city society.
According to a quiz in Style and Food magazine, Susie Rosen is a ‘Leftover,’ a post-Bridget Jones thirtysomething whose life so far is a definite failure.
Of course, she doesn’t totally accept the judgment that she is a serial non-careerist who doesn’t even own six matching dinner plates, has a history of failed relationships and has no hope left, only anger.
After all, her life isn’t all bad. She is in love with food – particularly pasta which her Italian grandmother told her was the answer to most of life’s problems – and dreaming of heart-throb actor Ryan Gosling is a great comfort too.
Her friend Rebecca reckons Susie needs to get over her ex-boyfriend Jake and start online dating – or at least stop being so rude to every guy who tries to chat her up.
But Susie’s got a plan. If she can just make it through the 307 days until her promotion and bonus, she can finally quit her tedious job with a London advertising agency and pursue her dream career in food, then surely everything else will fall into place.
After all, with a little food for thought and a bit of rich, saucy imagination, there might be the potential to find success in what appears to be just ‘a leftover’...
Leftovers is a dainty dish with a powerful kick... smart, wryly funny and achingly authentic, it captures the essence of the thirtysomething woman as she navigates the perilous pitfalls of life, love, work and relationships.
There is also the added bonus of another very special love affair – Newman’s passion for food which helps to drive the storyline and inspired a truly scrumptious pasta recipe section at the end of the book.
An irresistible story best served with a glass of sparkling white wine...
(Avon, paperback, £6.99)