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Hungry by Grace Dent - Review

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Someone I know had been reading this book and I was intrigued so I requested it at the library. I don't love Grace Dent when she's on the telly but I was interested enough to read her memoir. I'm really glad I did because I really enjoyed it. I even absolutely devoured it! Yes that pun was intended!

Grace is about ten years older than me, but like me she's from the north, and there's definitely stuff I recognised from the beginning of her book, which focusses on her early life in Carlisle. She was the first child of both her parents, but both had children from previous relationships. Her dad, George, had no contact with his previous children and they were rarely talked about. George would say that Grace was his 'only little girl'. He is Scouse and ex army, both of which were things that had an impact on Grace's early life. She remembers him cooking 'sketti' for her and her younger brother.

Her mother, also called Grace, is less present in the beginning of the book but she is there. I loved the depiction of a northern, working class childhood, and her memories of food in among that. Grace soon had visions of life outside Carlisle, and she ends up at Stirling university. From there, she starts writing for a zine and a magazine and then starts pitching her work to magazines in London. She moves there and starts her career. Funnily there's no mention of her time as a soap critic - literally one line would have done. But there is a lot about her becoming a food critic, which is interesting. 

In the last third of the book, Grace's dad suffers from dementia and she feels split in half between her life in London and looking after both her ailing parents in Cumbria. It's something that a lot of people will recognise, I think, and I really felt for her. There is a lot of sadness in the book but some funny parts too. I liked it, I'm giving it four out of five.

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