Cooking For Picasso Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
My parents recently cleaned out their 'bonus room' - the area above the garage which over the years has served a wide variety of purposes. It was a dance studio for me in middle school, a computer and movie room when my sister and I were in high school, and for the last few years - both a library/den and a music room for my dad, who plays the bass guitar.
As a result of this cleaning, I received boxes of books. Some for my kids, some for their teachers' classrooms, and many my mom labeled as "must reads for Alexis." (I come by my reading obsession honestly from both of my parents - what can I say?)
The recent weather, and therefore lack of school, has provided ample opportunity to dive into the pile. My first choice - Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray.
The choice proved perfect for frozen days in Michigan, somewhat stuck inside the walls of the house. Within the pages of the book I was transported to the seashore in France to a town called Juan-les-Pins beginning the spring of 1936. Descriptions of the salty air blowing off the Mediterranean Sea kept me warm and happy.
Ondine is the main character in one of the two plots that are intertwined but separated by 70 years. The only child of restaurant owners, Ondine finds herself the personal chef for Picasso, who was renting a house nearby the cafe, to recover from his messy divorce and to find new inspiration to paint. At the young age of 16, Ondine poses for Picasso and becomes a subject of multiple paintings.
Celine's (the second protagonist) story takes place in America in 2016 when her mother falls ill and is placed in a nursing home by Celine's older twin step-siblings. In an attempt to rescue her mother from their obvious plan to take their mother's inheritance, Celine travels to France near the birthplace of her great-grandmother Ondine.
Cooking for Picasso is a light-hearted story that is perfect for escaping the ice and subzero temperatures, keeping the reader entertained with a fictional tale of love, loss, adventure and mystery.
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