It’s a familiar story on the surface. Girl moves to New York. Girl gets a job in a New York City restaurant. Girl eats and drinks too much, learns the art and science of working in the front of house, builds relationships, breaks relationships.
The actual story isn’t what makes Sweetbitter interesting. It’s the author’s ability to bring these little details – family meal, dealing with VIP tables, learning about wine from a smug know-it-all – that makes it special.
It’s written in a stream-of-consciousness that not everyone will like, but I certainly did. It also goes deep in wine (the vintages and the art of selling it), which was a nice continuation of what I learned in Cork Dork.
I’m so happy (and relieved) to read books where the women protagonists are refreshingly real. Charming, complicated, unapologetic, ambitious, and biting. Sweetbitter‘s Tess joins the unnamed protagonist in Chemistry, Sabrina and Katya in Startup, and Julia in The Futures in real women finally being depicted in popular literature.
Sweetbitter is light enough for a vacation read, but heavy enough to leave you thinking about it, days after you finish reading.
It’s best enjoyed with a glass of wine and something delicious.