Life Without A Recipe

Life Without A Recipe

A Memoir

Book - 2016 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:

On one side, there is Grace: prize-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber's tough, independent sugar-fiend of a German grandmother, wielding a suitcase full of holiday cookies. On the other, Bud: a flamboyant, spice-obsessed Arab father, full of passionate argument. The two could not agree on anything: not about food, work, or especially about what Diana should do with her life. Grace warned her away from children. Bud wanted her married above all--even if he had to provide the ring. Caught between cultures and lavished with contradictory "advice" from both sides of her family, Diana spent years learning how to ignore others' well-intentioned prescriptions.

Hilarious, gorgeously written, poignant, and wise, Life Without a Recipe is Diana's celebration of journeying without a map, of learning to ignore the script and improvise, of escaping family and making family on one's own terms. As Diana discovers, however, building confidence in one's own path sometimes takes a mistaken marriage or two--or in her case, three: to a longhaired boy-poet, to a dashing deconstructionist literary scholar, and finally to her steadfast, outdoors-loving Scott. It also takes a good deal of angst (was it possible to have a serious writing career and be a mother?) and, even when she knew what she wanted (the craziest thing, in one's late forties: a baby!), the nerve to pursue it. Finally, fearlessly independent like the Grace she's named after, Diana and Scott's daughter Gracie will heal all the old battles with Bud and, like her writer-mom, learn to cook up a life without a recipe.

Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780393249095
Branch Call Number: 928.1 ABU
Characteristics: 267 pages


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 24, 2017

I love anything she writes. This was a nice insight in to her own life. But my favorite book is "Crescent" which I re-read every few years.

May 25, 2017

One of the sweetest, best memoirs I've read in a long time. Enjoyed it even more than her previous work, and that's saying so much. She has one of those voices that makes you think she's someone you might know from somewhere - so familiar and so connectable. I have nothing in common with her except being human and female, yet I felt like I had gone through love and pain for three people before I finished reading.

It's what we read memoir for - living through another's extraordinary experiences so we can learn without the consequences.

Oct 07, 2016

A memoir of food, family, and navigating a multicultural existence in America. Love the title! I was swept up in many of Abu-Jaber's family tales, but not as invested in the chapters that focused on her daughter's growth and development.

An engaging and graceful memoir of food and family, but mostly family. At one end a German grandmother whose religion is baking, and at the savory end a gregarious cook and father of Jordanian heritage. I would read any book Diana Abu-Jaber writes, just for the pleasure of her warmly complex and lyrical style, and this doesn't disappoint.

Kris- PR

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at EPL

To Top