Beyond the odd cooking appearance I never really knew much about Nigella Lawson so I was intrigued when I heard about Gilly Smith's biography. Smith has sorted through video footage, food columns, fashion articles, cookbooks and reviews to organize information about the cooking diva and her life.
The biography is divided into seventeen chapters and includes background on where Nigella grew up, her boarding school experience, her posh parents, her marriage to John Diamond (an award-winning broadcast journalist) and their children. Her career is highlighted from her early journalist days to her television shows and books; as well as her slow decline in popularity in the UK and her sudden birth of popularity in the U.S. Ending around 2005.
This biography was difficult to get into initially because it is delivered from a UK perspective with a lot of name dropping that means nothing to anyone over here not in the journalist or food business. The constant referencing slows things down and is really quite boring. I enjoyed getting to know Nigella but most of what I read was quoted or said by someone else and I felt throughout like I was missing something. Even the black and white pictures seemed to be from old stock footage, nothing personal.
A very different picture is painted of the Nigella her fans know and love. Despite this, Nigella comes across as a woman inspired by the intricacies of food with a compelling need to share them with whoever will read, watch and listen. She's easy to fall in love with.
I was looking forward to this glimpse into Nigella's life but was disappointed by the author's interpretation through columns, articles, interviews, cookbooks and videos. I did learn a lot about Nigella. But I think Nigella, a journalist in her own right, could have done a better job. Reviewed by M. E. Wood.