elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

The Birches by Xavier Axelson

The Birches is all about pleasure: the pleasure of food, the pleasure of sex and yes, the pleasure of simple things. Leo has not a bad life, he has the support of his father following his dream of being a chef, the right teachings he received from his mother, good memories about his life as a teenager; sure now his mother is dead, and maybe not having had the chance to prove to her he was able to reach that dream is still something that weight on his heart; plus his father is following in love with another woman, someone who could easily replace his own mother, since “unfortunately” she is a good woman, if she was a bitch, he could hate her, but she isn’t. Leo strives to achieve perfection for a lot of reason but in doing so he lost the reason why he started at the beginning, i.e. that cooking is pleasure, for the family, for the kids, for your friends, for your lover.

Then his friend Ollie takes Leo to the Birches, a diner managed by Dock the cook and two lesbian waitresses. Dock’s food is nothing complicated, muffins, omelettes, sandwiches, but it’s done with love and a special alchemy, and everything becomes special. Dock loves what he does, and loves to share it with his friends. Dock’s food is simple and open like the man himself, and if you like something, it’s enough to ask, like with Dock. At the beginning I thought there was something magical in Dock, but in the end, I arrived to the idea that Dock is magic since he has no substrates, he is what you see, and that is something not common in today world. It’s not that Dock has no ambition, it’s only that he doesn’t believe perfection is the answer to everything, something the most imperfect things are the most satisfying.

There is a lot of the old fashioned metaphor of sex like food, of pleasure of the senses, all five senses, and yes, some health rule would probably question the use of the kitchen that Dock has, but where is the pleasure if you don’t break some rules; and then it’s so nice to see Dock taking Leo down from his pedestal and dirtying him a little.

Basically Leo is a good kid, but he is really young; that with Dock is maybe the love story of his life, or maybe is only a step in his path towards adulthood, but in a way or the other, Dock is a good medicine, and it will serve him to ease up a lot of the stress he bottled in the last few years so that, even his cooking will be better.

http://www.seventhwindow.com/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=&products_id=38

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Amazon Kindle: The Birches
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (October 24, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: xavier axelson, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review
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