Notes on a banana A memoir of food, love, and manic depression

David Leite

Book - 2017

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinariaa candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

641.5092/Leite
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 641.5092/Leite Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York, NY : Dey St., an imprint of William Morrow [2017]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
370 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 367-368).
ISBN
0062414372
9780062414373
Main Author
David Leite (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In this warm, witty, sometimes heartbreaking memoir, Portuguese American writer Leite shares his lifelong love affair with food and struggles with manic depression. As a young child, he and his colorful mother (who affectionately calls him Banana) secretly gorge on whole pies together, and as a seventh-grader, he is called "faggot." He describes watching with awe and horror as another boy demonstrates how to masturbate, complete with a "deep guttural moan as if he were hurt" and "an arc of something white." His conclusion at the time: "If that was whacking off, you could count me out." Fans of the author's James Beard Award–winning website, Leite's Culinaria, where he notes, "My last name, quite coincidentally, rhymes with ‘eat' in English, ‘ate' in Portuguese," won't be surprised by his wonderful sense of humor and his keen powers of observation. He notes a Manhattan street sign that says, "Depression is a flaw in chemistry not character." In his case, it's certainly true. Leite's involving memoir will engage foodies and all who appreciate candid and charming self-portraits. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The winner of multiple James Beard awards, Leite grew up in a blue-collar Portuguese home in Fall River, MA, longing for middle-class stability and struggling with bipolar disorder, which was not diagnosed until his mid-thirties. Meanwhile, he threw himself into cooking. With a 100,000-copy first printing.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Leite is the author of The New Portuguese Table and the Leite's Culinaria website, so it's no surprise that the beginning and end of his memoir find him writing about food with infectious gusto and cleverness, giving a glimpse of why his website's won James Beard Awards. He's also written on the topic for the New York Times and other venues. Fans of that work will certainly wish there were more culinary stories in this work, but all readers will be touched by his first-generation Portuguese-American upbringing and struggles with his sexual identity as well as his battles to understand and treat his bipolar disorder. He expertly walks the line between sad and funny, making himself the clown and hero of this coming-of-age tale. His firsthand account of mental illness pulls no punches, serving up an honest and open perspective on personal and family issues that are often swept under the rug. Despite Leite playing the leading man, the true stars of the memoir are Leite's parents, who mirror his passion (his mother) and thoughtfulness (his father) and allow Leite to continually draw the focus of the story back to family and food, love and learning. The ideals that have made Leite's food writing so successful make this memoir worth a look. (Apr.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria presents a candid, humorous story of family, food, mental illness and sexual identity. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The founder of the website Leites Culinaria presents a memoir of growing up in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar Portuguese-American family, his struggles with manic depression and his sexual identity, and his love for food and cooking that helped him cope with his mood swings.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A FINALIST FOR THE NEW ENGLAND BOOK AWARD FOR NON FICTIONA PASTE BEST BOOK OF THE YEARONE OF TIMEOUT NEW YORK's BEST SUMMER BEACH READS OF 2017ONE OF REAL SIMPLE's 25 FATHER's DAY BOOKS THAT COVER ALL OF DAD's INTERESTS'A terrific contribution to understanding not only the experience of bipolar illness but the experience of life: warm, funny, poignant, and human.''Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet MindThe long-awaited, laugh-out-loud memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinaria'a candid, courageous, and deeply poignant story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.Born into a devoutly Catholic, food-crazed family of Azorean immigrants in 1960s Fall River, Massachusetts, David Leite had a childhood that was the stuff of sitcoms. But what noone knew was that this smart-ass, determined dreamer with a vivid imagination also struggled with the frightening mood swings of bipolar disorder. To cope, 'Banana," as his mother endearingly called him, found relief and comfort in food, watching reruns of Julia Child, and, later as an adult, cooking for others. It was only in his mid-thirties, after years of desperately searching, that he finally uncovered the truth about himself, recieved propoer medical treatment, and began healing. Throughout the narrative, David takes the reader along on the exhilarating highs and shattering lows of his life, with his trademark wit and humor: We watch as he slams the door on his Portuguese heritage in favor of blond-haired, blue-eyed WASPdom; pursues stardom with a near-pathological relentlessness; realizes he's gay and attempts to 'turn straight' through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan; battles against dark and bitter moods; delights in his twenty-plus year relationship with Alan (known to millions of David's readers as 'the One'); and shares the people, dishes, and events that shaped him.A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirs by Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the hilarious storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A FINALIST FOR THE NEW ENGLAND BOOK AWARD FOR NON FICTIONA PASTE BEST BOOK OF THE YEARONE OF TIMEOUT NEW YORK's BEST SUMMER BEACH READS OF 2017ONE OF REAL SIMPLE's 25 FATHER's DAY BOOKS THAT COVER ALL OF DAD's INTERESTS'A terrific contribution to understanding not only the experience of bipolar illness but the experience of life: warm, funny, poignant, and human.''Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet MindThe long-awaited, laugh-out-loud memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinaria'a candid, courageous, and deeply poignant story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.Born into a devoutly Catholic, food-crazed family of Azorean immigrants in 1960s Fall River, Massachusetts, David Leite had a childhood that was the stuff of sitcoms. But what noone knew was that this smart-ass, determined dreamer with a vivid imagination also struggled with the frightening mood swings of bipolar disorder. To cope, 'Banana," as his mother endearingly called him, found relief and comfort in food, watching reruns of Julia Child, and, later as an adult, cooking for others. It was only in his mid-thirties, after years of desperately searching, that he finally uncovered the truth about himself, recieved propoer medical treatment, and began healing. Throughout the narrative, David takes the reader along on the exhilarating highs and shattering lows of his life, with his trademark wit and humor: We watch as he slams the door on his Portuguese heritage in favor of blond-haired, blue-eyed WASPdom; pursues stardom with a near-pathological relentlessness; realizes he's gay and attempts to 'turn straight' through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan; battles against dark and bitter moods; delights in his twenty-plus year relationship with Alan (known to millions of David's readers as 'the One'); and shares the people, dishes, and events that shaped him.A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirs by Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the hilarious storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.