There are definitely some amazing perks to being a librarian. Number one on my list is getting to work with the public. Another perk is there always seems to be a book to read, wherever I look. I’ve got them on my bedside table, on my kitchen table, and in my car, gym bag, and purse. So, when I was running to my hair appointment and realized I had forgotten to grab a book, I remembered a galley I had lying in the trunk of my car. And this is another perk – we get to read books before they’re published. Galleys are uncorrected proofs of books that publishers send to librarians and booksellers so they can read the book before they actually purchase it. I started reading “Maman’s Homesick Pie” by Donia Bijan, and my two hour appointment has never seemed so quick.
The author writes about her childhood growing up in Iran and the wonderful Persian food her mother and father cook for their family. They are on vacation in Spain during the Revolution in 1979, and her mother’s political leanings make it impossible for them to return. The family moves to America, where the girls all attend school. Bijan realizes she can never follow her father’s footsteps and become a doctor as she is obsessed with food and cooking. She enrolls at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and then moves back to America, where she works for many swanky restaurants and hotels.
I loved this book because the writing was warm and evocative, making it easy to imagine the heady smells of Persian cooking – the persimmons and saffron and almonds. Bijan draws you in and makes it possible to envision an Iran before the Revolution. Her complicated relationship with her father is realistic, as is her mother’s determination to assimilate and belong in her new country. She does this mostly through food. And it is through food that the author feels she can truly express herself and her love for her parents and their many sacrifices for her and her sisters. This book is one I highly recommend, and we’ll be ordering it for the library, so be sure to check it out.