Love by the Glass Book Review

Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage
by Dorothy J Gaiter and John Brecher

ISBN: 0-8129-6686-4
Format: trade paperback
Pages: 317
Pub Date: 2003 by Random House
Suggested Retail Price: $12.95 (US)/$19.95 (Cdn)

Susan’s Take:

This book disappointed me – big time. I’d expected lush descriptions, extensive – or at least detailed – tasting notes, set against a rich backdrop of their careers and wine explorations. These guys are, after all, both apparently prize-winning journalists. What I had in my hands was a book that continually broke all the rules of good writing and didn’t even tell a decent story.

Most often, just as I was starting to get involved in the current tale of travelling or meeting winemakers, they’d simply stop – done, finito, ain’t no more folks. To me, this is the worst form of saying: I have an incredible piece of information but that’s another story so I’m not telling you. In grade school we used to follow such a statement with a singsong “Na na-na na!” Okay, so even as a non-parent I can accept it from a six-year-old. I expected more from Dorothy and John.

They also have major difficulties deciding whose point of view they’re using – not just in a given chapter but often within a paragraph and sometimes within a single sentence. Going from “Dottie bought John bottle of Chateau Latour” to “so we bought a third wine rack” in the same sentence still makes the hair on the back of my neck prickle. I haven’t figured out how to spell the howl of disapproval it evoked from a long-time editor friend of mine, but it was not a pretty sound.

I also found the never ending stories about “Dottie faces” – apparently specially commissioned on their coffee mugs, carpets, paintings, walls, and just everything else in their house – irritating and distracting. I’m sure they get a kick out of in their personal lives and I’ll admit it was kind of cute the first couple of times them mentioned it – a bit sappy but cute. By the twentieth time it was flat out annoying.

This book is definitely one I’d take a pass on. My copy got recycled to the secondhand store within 24 hours.

Frank’s Take:

Well, what I can I say about this one? I did mention the book to Susan as a possible good read. I do, from time to time, read their Wall Street Journal column and usually find it quite good.

Love by the Glass did have one chapter about a column where they encouraged people to open that special bottle of wine they had stashed away and enjoy it on a specific date. The responses were amazing and heartwarming. I wish the rest of the book was as good.

I’m sure my penance for even suggesting, never mind recommending, this book to Susan will involve a good bottle of wine.

About Frank Haddad

Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Professional Spirits from WSET. Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. French Wine Society. International Sommelier Guild,. and WSET Diploma Student. Certified Sake Professional Executive Director Modernize Wine Assoc of BC
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