While the story itself was interesting and the recipes were really cute, the character of Marla was poorly written and quite offensive. A size 16 and she is described as having "swirling tires of flesh" and can't be trusted around food. The way she is described as eating in the book she'd be a size 42 and weigh over 350 pounds! I don't think the author has ever met someone who was a size 16, and if you don't weigh 115 pounds and fit into a size 4, this character will ruin the book for you! The other annoying cliche was the pregnant girl is described as craving pickles and ice cream. Ooooo, I'd never guess that one!
This was the most unpleasant selection my monthly book club has nominated. The author seems like she is trying to follow a "Writer's Digest" formula as she unfolds her plot and the effect is just too predictable. The timeline is not paced well either. Sometimes we'll spend a whole chapter on a conversation and then we'll jump ahead three days in the space of a paragraph. The dialogue is cliched and the characters come off as shallow stereotypes. The writing reaches a definite low point as the author describes a "Amour Anonymous" meeting with five characters in attendance and skips from comment to comment so quickly it is hard to imagine how the conversation reaches such emotional highs and lows within the space of a few moments. The plot wraps up neatly and the recipes are an interesting addition (worth trying I hope!) - but these two positive attributes are not enough to save the overall writing.
To be honest upfront, I didn't get past the first few chapters of this mystery. I didn't care for Davidson's prose, nor did I find the characters compelling. Actually, I found the protagonist Goldy (could the name be any more precious??) a bit off-putting and not in any way believable. Goldy's a caterer whose ex-husband used to beat her -- and she goes out of her way to make sure she doesn't serve him tomatoes at a function she's catering, because he's allergic to them. Is it just me, or does that make her a complete doormat? Who wants to read about someone like that? Or her alcoholic mother-in-law? I don't know about you, but I've got to like the people I read about. For all I know, the ending of "Catering to Nobody" is brilliant, but I just couldn't see slogging through it to find out.