John Frederick is a man of considerable substance, in every sense of the word. Rich, intelligent, reclusive, and very large, John Frederick lives to eat. His everyday needs are tended to by Mrs. Floyd, his house manager, and by a never-ending parade of personal chefs. Enter Lexie Alexander, the latest applicant for that once-again vacant position. A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy, Lexie lives to cook. As time passes, a love of food, musical comedy, and tea begins to weave a connection between John Frederick and his new chef but then a major medical crisis completely turns life at Frederick House upside down, threatening the bond John Frederick and Lexie have forged. Size Matters is the story of how people interact with each other and with the world, and what happens when the structure of a person s life, their self-image, and all their familiar coping mechanisms are shattered.
As most of you know, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the BookSparks 2016 Fall Reading Challenge. Today’s post is one of the December books on the list. The “Course Title” for this book is “Food and Relationship Studies”, and the Department is “Culinary Fiction”.
Size Matters: A Novel by Cathryn Novak is a very, very quick read. Why? Partially because it’s only 135 pages and partially because it’s a great read. The title isn’t about what you might think it’s about – it’s about FOOD. Not to spoil anything, but I will say that I wished that the book was longer so we could have had more backstory on each of the main characters. I really think it could have been written as a bigger story with more “meat” (excuse the pun). But anyway, here’s the plot:
Lexie Alexander is a very sweet young woman who is a newly minted chef right out of culinary school and looking for a job. Lexie uses the art of cooking so that she can avoid the fact that she’s lonely and so that she can keep the memories of her mother alive. John Frederick is an obese rich man who is a food-addicted recluse hiding in his mansion eating his life away. Both Lexie and John seem to be searching for something and think they’ve found it in food – Lexie by cooking it and John Frederick by eating it.
After time, Lexie and John Frederick become friends after bonding over food and musicals. A major medical crisis turns the household upside down it threatens the special bonds they’ve formed with each other. To tell you how this ends would spoil the whole thing, so I’ll say if you have a little time to kill one day, this is an extremely quick read, and it’s fun and well written! Thanks Cathryn Novak for this one!
Cathryn Novak has had a love affair with words that began as soon as she could read. After graduating with a degree in Communications and Public Policy from U.C. Berkeley, Cathryn did a stint in advertising before devoting the rest of her professional career to public service. During that period she wore many hats including speech writer, policy analyst, and investigative report writer. Her monograph on the Los Angeles Police Commission, The Years of Controversy, was published by the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C. Now retired, Cathryn has returned to her first love, the world of fiction. Size Matters is her first published novel.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the Fall Reading Challenge 2016 (#FRC2016) in exchange for this post.