The Chicken Sisters
One of my more recent reads is The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia — it was recently picked up as Reese’s Book Club pick for December and is an option for Book of the Month December picks.
“In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best-fried chicken in the state–and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .
The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, Food Wars becomes her chance to step back into the limelight. Mae is certain she can make the fading Mimi’s look good–even if that pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. With a greedy producer stoking the flames, their friendly rivalry quickly turns into a game of chicken. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?”
Before I begin, I want to say that when I write a review it is never my intention to hurt an author’s feelings. Nor is it to encourage you to not read the book. In fact, I encourage you to read the book, and then I want to read your review so I can see an entirely different side that I was unable to see myself.
Okay, so here we go…
I love books centered around cooking or baking since that is one of my favorite things to do – so I knew I had to get my hands on Chicken Sisters. The cover is beautiful, the story sounds like something I would love, and Reese picked it. Three things that usually catch my attention right away and force me to ‘add to cart’.
The two main characters were downright awful people. They had good intentions but they never executed them well. I wish the book had focused around Barbara and Nancy – I savored the pages that they surfaced on and wanted desperately to follow them instead of Mae and Amanda. The two sisters treated their mother so terribly that I contemplated putting the book down and not picking it back up. But, I kept going. They honestly didn’t redeem themselves until the final few pages of the story.
The last bone that I have to pick with Chicken Sisters is that it could have been 20-30% shorter. There was a lot of unnecessary internal dialogue that could have been narrowed down to make a more reasonable length. There were times that I spaced out while reading, came back into the book, and the same topics were being discussed pages later.
Now, because I don’t care to end on a negative note, I want to discuss what I did enjoy about The Chicken Sisters. I loved Nancy and Barbara but I also loved the men of this story – they were all fabulous characters that added a touch of charm to the storyline. I loved the concept of a centuries-old competition between two families and the misunderstanding that often comes with grudges that are passed on through the years.
I appreciated the mental health awareness that the author added to her storyline. Hoarding is something that, I think, is often misrepresented on television shows and is often the butt of a joke but in reality, it is a disorder that people struggle with every day. It’s not just messiness or laziness but a behavior pattern that may be a symptom of other mental health issues. So, I applaud the author for bringing the reader’s attention to this and for showing that there is often a side to hoarding that people do not see.
So, there we have it, folks! I think that there will be people out there who will enjoy this book so, I encourage you to add it to your cart, check it out from your library, or download that audiobook version. The Chicken Sisters was published December 1, 2020, and can be purchased today!