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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


“A terrific contribution to understanding not only the experience of bipolar illness but the experience of life: warm, funny, poignant, and human.” (Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire)

The long-awaited, laugh-out-loud memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria—a candid, courageous, and deeply poignant story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

Born into a devoutly Catholic, food-crazed family of Azorean immigrants in 1960s Fall River, Massachusetts, David had a childhood that was the stuff of sitcoms. But what no one knew was that this smart-ass, determined dreamer with a vivid imagination also struggled with the frightening mood swings of bipolar disorder. To cope, “Banana,” as his mother endearingly called him, found relief and comfort in food, watching reruns of Julia Child, and, later as an adult, cooking for others. It was only in his mid-thirties, after years of desperate searching, did he finally uncover the truth about himself, receive proper medical treatment, and begin healing.

Throughout the narrative, David takes the reader along on the exhilarating highs and shattering lows of his life, with his trademark wit and humor: We watch as he slams the door on his Portuguese heritage in favor of blond-haired, blue-eyed WASPdom; pursues stardom with a near-pathological relentlessness; realizes he’s gay and attempts to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan; battles against dark and bitter moods; delights in his twenty-plus year relationship with Alan (known to millions of David's readers as “The One”); and shares the people, dishes, and events that shaped him.

A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind; food memoirs by Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton; and the hilarious 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...

  • Sandra Guerfi
    Jun 24, 2017

    David Leite's touching autobiography takes a look at himself from a small boy growing up to his present life as the creator of the James Beard Award winning website Leite's Culinaria. Leite introduces...

  • 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...