“Whenever I start dating someone new, I just can’t hold back” begins author Giulia Melucci’s memoir— I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. The Brooklyn-born author goes on to recount her lovelorn days and how she overfed her ex-boyfriends with an array of scrumptious pasta dishes (linguini, pastina, rigatoni, spaghetti, etc.). This “chick lit” book charts Melucci’s fruitless foray into the dating world: From Kit, her first love, through Lachlan, the love who inspired her to write this memoir, and all the artfully cooked meals-and-recipes in between.
Each chapter—with titles such as “The Victory Breakfast,” ”The Ethan Binder School of Cooking,” “Marcus Caldwell Ate and Ran,”—de-constructs the relationship with each boyfriend. Most are writers (if not starving, then frugal) Melucci loved, cooked for, then was dumped by. In the process, she explores the nexus between gastronomy, appetite, and love.
Toward the end of the book, Melucci explains how she manages a single woman’s existence in a couple’s world. “My own dinner parties,” she writes, “are full of couples. . . . And as my guests compliment my cooking, which feels great, I also have to hear them wonder aloud why it is I'm not married, which feels awful. The person who brings it up is usually a man, a man married to a woman who doesn't cook.”
Melucci is well-educated, erudite, cosmopolitan, witty, employed at the time as an editor/vice-president at Harper’s Magazine. A rock-music aficionado. A wine connoisseur. She knows a soufflé from a sorbet. She jogs, does Pilates, and summers in the Hamptons.
Sometime after Ethan and before Marcus, I wished Melucci would go back to Ethan—a Rolling Stone Magazine/MTV writer and her true love. For they had mutual friends, interests, and temperaments, each beloved by the other’s family. Instead, she allowed herself to be dumped by Mitch, who ended his break-up e-mail with, “. . . I just don’t feel like having a girlfriend right now.”
Then, later, Lachlan–an obscure Scottish novelist when she met him—who uttered these “plenty perceptive” words: ”The only thing wrong with you is that you think something is wrong with you. . . .“ After she managed the herculean feat of getting him an agent, and, ultimately, an enviable book deal, Lachlan “un-friended” her. He did not marry her. (To be fair, she seemed to dislike him by the time of their break-up.)
Toward the end of the book, Melucci purchased her dream apartment--whose previous tenant found her husband on www.match.com. Hopefully, the apartment is blessed by a fairy-techno godmother who grants each single female tenant her ultimate wish. For we desperately wish the author to find true and lasting love, and to live happily ever after! (Probably, Melucci needs a therapist, a matchmaker, or both.)
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti is a witty, insightful, fun read as you sprawl on your couch (or, in warm weather, in your backyard)—in which author Giulia Melucci shares the angst of being a sassy, independent/co-dependent, single woman in a cosmopolitan city.
–Yolanda A. Reid
Copyright © 2012 by Y.A. Reid
Copyright © 2012 by Y.A. Reid