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Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death

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I wonder if we are born with the ability to mourn or if it is something we must learn, and, if so, who teaches us?

The memoir is sprinkled with little anecdotes and metaphors that are unlike anything I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few memoirs). Young women were supposed to be desired and pretty, not moon-faced and depressed, pretend-eating pasta with their mums. I have others I can discuss life with, of course – my husband, my best friend, friends with whom I’ve worked for years – but there’s still nobody like my mum was. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the feeling of cycling – the freedom, the smells and sights of being outdoors – it was more that I felt unwilling to let myself be looked at whilst doing it, because I struggled to ride a bike, and I looked like someone who struggled to ride a bike, and I was so ashamed. Then when she had a stand-in for a couple of episodes I was something like intrigued (too nosy/cold) or concerned (too earnest).This kind of honest observation of her own thoughts is one of the features of Delicacy that make it a pleasure to read. One such landed directly with me, having recently been interviewed for and offered a job which on paper was perfect and that the organisation thought me ideal for, only for the reality not to be a good fit for me personally. All of our books are 100% brand new, unread and purchased directly from the publishers in bulk allowing us to pass the huge savings on to you! Personally, I felt that the way Katy wrote made me feel that I could relate to her, despite not having gotten to the same stage in my life where I have had to cope with the loss of a significant person from my life.

The only reason why I gave 4 stars was that, at times, I felt that the sense of time (by this I mean when things were happening in her life) could be a little hazy. Like many women, I don’t know exactly at what point food changed for me – I can remember leaving food on my plate as a child, happy to stop eating when satiated (something that later became unfathomably complicated) – but in reading this passage I felt a deep and resounding recognition. It would mean walking arm in arm down the road with a body that wasn’t ideal, but he would have to tell the world that this was the body he had fallen in love with, and that maybe what he thought he needed and what he thought love would look like had been wrong all along. In a letter to her departed friend, identified only by his initial, she notes with a wry darkness: ‘Grief is so strange, D. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products.It’s as if you have finished a game of pass-the-parcel that lasted for years, only to find no gift at the centre. The resonance of Delicacy has a universality to it, just as grief is universal – the difference, of course, lies in our own unique experience of it.

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