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Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression
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Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression


“In hilarious, deeply honest prose, Leite has brilliantly captured the light and dark of bipolar disorder. But this book does so much more. It explores the relationships between culture and family, friendship and food, love and the body. A memoir about the astonishing resilience of the human heart.” (Marya Hornbacher, Author of Madness: A Bipolar Life)

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria—a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity. Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. A clever and determined dreamer with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door just like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French, thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of manic depression. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-thirties, David found relief from his wild mood swings in learning about food, watching Julia Child, and cooking for others.

Notes on a Banana is his heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, yet tender memoir of growing up, accepting himself, and turning his love of food into an award-winning career. Reminiscing about the people and events that shaped him, David looks back at the highs and lows of his life: from his rejection of being gay and his attempt to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan, to becoming a writer, cookbook author, and web publisher, to his twenty-four-year relationship with Alan, known to millions of David’s readers as “The One,” which began with (what else?) food. Throughout the journey, David returns to his stoves and tables, and those of his family, as a way of grounding himself.

A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirs by Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the character-rich storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.

Title:Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages
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    Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression Reviews

  • Yaaresse
    Mar 15, 2017

    Disclaimer per my own rule and to maintain everyone's integrity: I have an acquaintance with the author. Also, I received a advance copy of this book with mutual understanding that I am a contumacious...

  • Alice
    Feb 03, 2017

    In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding...

  • Glenn Dettwiler
    Mar 13, 2017

    I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I felt the emotional roller coaster of Davids life, love and mental health challenges.. David shares his love of those that provide a foundation to his development bot...

  • Marika
    Mar 01, 2017

    One of the most funny, touching memoirs that I have read in a very long while. David writes humorously about growing up in a Portuguese household, including their rich history of cooking, family feast...

  • Courtney Judy
    Apr 06, 2017

    The title (and cover) of the book drew my attention first, and of course...the thought of reading a memoir that included food, love and manic could one say no to that. I enjoyed the b...

  • Kitt O'Malley
    May 05, 2017

    Loved Leite's Self-Deprecating MemoirAs a mental health advocate and bipolar blogger, I've read A LOT of writing by those of us living with mental illness -- with bipolar disorder in particular. What ...

  • Roy Trimble
    Nov 01, 2016

    Pre-read. Looking forward to the final!...

  • Judith Klinger
    May 14, 2017

    DISCLAIMER: I'm a straight woman. I don't have any medically recognized mental illnesses; other than a strong streak of Polish veneta. Yet, this book pierced my heart in ways that were totally unexpec...

  • Benjamin Bookman
    Mar 08, 2017

    After the first 50 pages, I was starting to compose my review - "I love this book. The descriptions are so vivid, the situations so funny yet deep, and the situations so personal that it could only be...

  • Alison
    May 07, 2017

    I was drawn to this book by the cover as well as the commentary on the back. I was able to move through the first 40 pages quite easily, but then the rest of the book drug on for me and I had a diffic...