Easily the best restaurant memoir I've read yet.
Gabrielle had an odd upbringing with a casual artistic father and a French ex-ballerina for a mother. They raised their large brood in a farmhouse far from any city, raising and making most of their food. After the divorce, Gabrielle was left largely on her own, and she quickly turned to cooking and waiting tables to make ends meet. She developed a serious coke habit in the 80s (surprise!) but since she was only 17 when she hit rock-bottom, she managed to get her life together and eventually not only completed college, but got an MFA. By her early thirties, she opened her own restaurant in NYC (Prune), green-card-married an Italian doctor (the set-up of yet another Harlequin romance novel), and had sons.
Fantastic, earthy writing, and descriptions of food that felt like her real reflections, not shoe-horned in because readers expect them. She rhapsodizes on everything from egg sandwiches from a street cart to handrolling pasta with her in-laws, and it all feels equally important. I felt a little uncomfortable by her descriptions of her relationship with her husband (it's clearly a complicated marriage), but I was absolutely fascinated by her experiences, the way she talks about them, and the personality driving it all.