18 April 2009

The State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first grabbed several of the Salt Lake County Library Systems Readers Choice selections, this was the one I was most excited about reading...

Given recent events in our nations history, I am a bit intrigued to read things about the White House. I loved the detail regarding all things White House, the protocols. So many of us don't realize just how much becoming part of the White House, in any manner, changes the way things are done in our lives! From our personal relationships to the protocols of office politics...but Ollie manages it all well in this fun novel.

The book starts out with our aspiring firecracker chef, Ollie, who stumbles into a situation that is about to change her life, most likely for good. She helps stops a 'loony' running around the White House grounds. Thinking she is helping out the Secret Service, she clunks the loony in the head with a frying pan. As we follow her story along, we find out more about just how things work in Washington and the White House itself. I found this part of the storyline very interesting. I mean, we have news stories all the time that come out from our nations capitol. How much of these stories are reality? In this day, we really have to look in ourselves and rely on our own instincts to decide for ourselves what we will believe. Ok, off the soapbox and back to the story...

We follow Ollie through her life, during the next few weeks, as she deals with being thrown into the path of The Chameleon, the most successful assassin ever! As well as dealing with new White House staff (who, come on, no reader really believes is the villian...that would be TOO easy)...yes, I really did just give a hint towards the storyline, WOW! Anyway, Ollie also has to worry about her competition for the Executive Chef position that is about to be open at the White House kitchen. Will her involvement with the Chameleon leave her out of work? Or even without a boyfriend, who is a Secret Service agent? As we continuing reading, we learn about the functions of the White House kitchen. I found this part of the storyline to be quite interesting. What the kitchen staff has to go through just to prepare for any meal in that house is quite the feat. All the details from how they get the food itself to making sure all attendees needs are met...allergies, likes/dislikes, etc! WOW, some moms have a hard time with this in their own homes with a handful of people...imagine managing this stuff for events that have worldwide affects! This is a job I do NOT want, but, with all the above in mind, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in this series. If you love food or love a good mystery, this book is for you....bon appetit!

Almost forgot, of course, there are a few quotes. I will note, now, that most of these are a bit cliche, but they served as a reminder to me of things going on, not just in my life, but in the nation right now...

pg 120: "...if that's what you believe, then that's exactly what will happen. If you give up, then she wins. With no effort." I needed this good reminder right now. We have to put forth our absolute best effort and work for what we want! MAKE IT HAPPEN!

pg 121: "Nothing's impossible with the right attitude." Now, while in this part of the book, this statement is reference to a seating chart for an upcoming dinner at the White House...it serves as a great reminder, like above, that we make our own attitude and our attitude makes a lot of what becomes us!

pg 148: "Sometimes all we can do is our best, and we have to hope that's good enough." I think, especially with the above, that this statement speaks for itself.

pg 265: well, for this one, it is way too long to justify putting it on here...but, for this one page alone, I encourage everyone to read it...reminds us of patriotism. We should be proud of whatever heritage brought us to this land of freedom. We should be grateful that we have such freedoms. We should remember all this and work to make things even better for those to come...
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