When I heard that David Leite from Leite’s Culinaria had a book coming out, I knew that I wanted to read it. David is a very successful food blogger and I wanted to sink my teeth into whatever it was that he had written. Perhaps I could learn something from his book, I thought. What I thought I would get out of his book, Notes On a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression, and what I did get out of the book were two different things.
There are no recipes or full-color pictures in David’s book. It’s not a cookbook. Instead, it tells the story of his life starting with his early memories growing up in Massachusetts as the son of immigrants from the Azores. The title of the book is a reference to the notes on bananas that his mother would leave him, always letting him know that she loved him. Although he grew up in a loving home, something plagued David from an early age that caused him to panic.
There’s A Girl
We learn that while David was at Carnegie Mellon University studying acting, he met a Big-Eyed Girl named Bridget. The two of them became very close and David even started picturing them married with a couple of children. Bridget was David’s rock when his disorder would flare up. Though he loved her and wanted to change for her, he could not get past his attraction for men.
Throughout Notes On a Banana, David beautifully interweaves how food has played a large part of his life, from large family meals when he was a child to the meals he prepared for a CMU professor’s family to working in an upper-class restaurant in one of the twin towers.
David wrote his memoir from the heart, sharing things that many might consider taboo in today’s society, such as mental illness and homosexuality. Don’t let that stop you from reading this good book. David writes beautifully and openly about his life. Notes On a Banana is very enlightening about one man’s struggle to find love and sanity. It’s worth reading.
Look for Notes On a Banana at your local bookstore or at Amazon.com.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 4 will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please seek help now. Below are a few links for more information.