Review of ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit’ by Kate Lebo

I find fruit fascinating, even though I don’t grow it, cook with it or even eat much of it. I’ve read a few books about fruit already, but I was happy to read another. This one by Kate Lebo is more of a memoir than anything else and wasn’t quite what I expected. However, it was a good read, if rather odd.

The somewhat contrived format is an A-Z of fruit, from aronia berries to zucchini. They are all ‘difficult’ in some way, maybe because they are very sour, or are awkward to prepare, or can make some people ill. Each of these entries is an essay about an aspect of the author’s life, usually but not always relating to that fruit, plus a couple of complicated recipes with the assumption that you live in the United States and have a lot of time and money to source obscure fruit and make preserves. There are some hard-hitting topics discussed, including cancer and abortion. Wellness and illness dominate the book. The surprising, disjointed literary style was very interesting once I became used to it.

If you’re looking for a history of unusual fruit, with easy-to-read descriptions and useful photographs, this book will disappoint you. If unconventional memoirs are your thing, and/or you make jams and jellies, do give it a try.

Thank you to the publisher Pan Macmillan for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 28th April.

5 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit’ by Kate Lebo”

  1. I had no idea that zucchini would be considered difficult! I eat it most days, steamed. I like to think that the zucchini offsets the amount of chocolate that I eat.

    1. I know zucchini as courgette 🙂 I think probably the author was struggling to find an entry for ‘Z’! Yeah sure, it’s OK to eat as much chocolate as you want, just have an equal amount of vegetables 😉

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