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Sweetbitter: A novel – Book Review

A Sensory Read with a More Bitter Than Sweet Aftertaste

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, at first glance, looks like the book foodies will love to indulge in much like their favourite cuisine. But it’s more than just attractive descriptions of food and taste. If you were tempted by the web series inspired by the book, you might want to experience the writing, what the original has to say or how much it differs from the show.

What’s Served? (Story Plot)

The story is about a young woman named Tess, who is about to join an upscale restaurant as a back waitress. She couldn’t be more unfit for the role. She has no knowledge about the industry, as is seen in her interview for the position. But she, nevertheless, gets the job and discovers a world of food, drinks, friendship and her deep desires.

The storyline is good, but the weak characterizations and too much-arousing food descriptions make it less delightful than intended. At one point, while reading the novel, you feel like you have had too much of it and can’t take in a single more word in.

How It’s Served? (Writing Style)

Stephanie Danler’s writing style gets a thumbs up. The novel is written through Tess’s point of view. It has mostly arousing descriptions of food, which might get overwhelming after a point. But Danler connects them with thrill, pleasure and morality in some places, giving a new perspective and making the reader pause and think what is being said here. In this novel, you don’t get to know a character through his or her appearance or behaviours, but through the way the character describes food.

The Good

  • Descriptions about food
  • The poetic and distinctive writing style

The Bad

  • Unlikable characters
  • The length of the book

What’s the Final Taste Like? (Verdict)

This dish served via written words can be rated 2.5 stars at best. But it’s a good pick if you like reading about food being described in an attractive, poetic way. Overall, to us, it left a bland and seemingly more bitter aftertaste than sweet.