He was the first food writer to win a James Beard award for a website! This memoir tells of his Portuguese immigrant childhood in Massachusetts, his struggle to come to terms with Soooo gooood. He writes so evocatively about what it is like to experience manic depression - not just the mental and emotional aspects, but the physical experiences of it.
I also learned a lot about Portuguese cuisine and now I want to experience some of those dishes for myself. Apr 06, Courtney Judy rated it liked it Shelves: advance-reader-editions. The title and cover of the book drew my attention first, and of course I enjoyed the background and mini-intro to Portuguese culture that the author provided, and my heart ached for David when he shared all the manic moments he endured his entire life. It was such a relief that he never gave up The only reason I didn't give it four stars, and this could just be because I was reading an Advanced Readers copy, was the small number of photos included in the memoir.
All the descriptions the author provided would have gone great with photos. Maybe in the finalized edition they will include those photos, here's hoping. Jan 15, Kelley Frengle rated it really liked it. Really enjoyed this memoir that is well-written, witty, comical, and entertaining. I enjoyed learning about his Portuguese family, food, and culture. Also enjoyed about reading about his journey to love and to his successful career. Most importantly, I appreciate that David brings the audience into how manic depression has impacted his life, helping to share understanding and appreciation for mental illness.
Aug 14, Emily Hampton Haynes rated it it was amazing. I think this is the best book I've read all year. It was especially powerful for me to read how long it took for Leite to get the diagnosis that fit him -- over 30 years. I'm so impressed by his will even as a child to fight for his life, for his brain. It's also a very sweet memoir about love, family, food, and acceptance. A fantastic read. Aug 15, Rachel Riot rated it it was amazing. Entertaining, funny, and so true to life about living with bipolar.
I would give this more than five stars if I could. This audio was not quite what I expected, but by the end, I was sad it was over. Loved Leite's Self-Deprecating Memoir As a mental health advocate and bipolar blogger, I've read A LOT of writing by those of us living with mental illness -- with bipolar disorder in particular. What makes Leite's different and enjoyable is his incredible self-deprecating sense of humor. Humor can literally save your life. Don't underestimate it as a coping mechanism. Check out Chapter 33 for the psychiatric interview in which Leite was diagnosed bipolar II.
I even published a blog post quoting Loved Leite's Self-Deprecating Memoir As a mental health advocate and bipolar blogger, I've read A LOT of writing by those of us living with mental illness -- with bipolar disorder in particular. I even published a blog post quoting it, I was so impressed.
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Even though I use the term bipolar disorder, I agree with Leite that manic depression is more accurate and descriptive of our experience. Mar 08, Benjamin Bookman rated it liked it. After the first 50 pages, I was starting to compose my review - "I love this book. The descriptions are so vivid, the situations so funny yet deep, and the situations so personal that it could only be a real story" and fully intending to give 5 stars.
I fully admit that I am a sucker for childhood and generally more bored by the realities of adulthood in ANY story. But the After the first 50 pages, I was starting to compose my review - "I love this book. But the dramatic difference is what threw me. The middle part of the book is, by comparison to the first and last sections, so long. It drags. And not because every moment is described - in fact whole periods of time vanish and are glossed over ex: jumping from broke and struggling to successful and rich with zero explanation.
The pace did pick up again in the last section, and although it wasn't "amazing" in the same way as the start, it was at least well-written and thoughtful. The writing style was fine, the focus on themes was nice, and it was clearly thought out and logical to read. I also suppose I am a bit of a prude, but the fairly explicit chapters also bothered me. I couldn't care less that it was with other men, and I am in fact very glad that the LGBT aspect of mental health was included, and naturally rather than artificially, but I just dont enjoy reading the intimate details of anyone's sex life.
In any context. So, big picture: - I thought that the "tough" issues being gay, mental illness, etc were highlights and were well-written. Nobody else was ever given descriptions or personality that made them feel alive. I realize some of this IS the emotional point. But as a reader rather than a therapist or friend, it isn't very engaging. Jan 26, Jeimy rated it liked it. This was a good memoir, but I was expecting more based on the subtitle.
I felt that the manic depression part of the memoir--which I was most interested in--is almost an afterthought. I would have described it as mental illness. May 06, Vicky rated it it was ok Shelves: lost-interest. I was really enjoying this memoir, especially the depiction of an immigrant Portuguese family and neighbourhood.
However, I lost interest once I found it too pretentious. I just finished reading Notes on a Banana by David Leite. I have known David through several foods groups for many years. I have a copy of his cookbook , The New Portuguese Table which I also love and have seen glimpses of his personal life that he has shared on his Facebook page and on his Leite's Culinary page.
David has always shared "The One", on a limited level with his readers. This book gave us the ability to really get to see and know David on a completely different level. The book is funny, poignant, sad at times, but through it all, the message of love and family triumphing over the greatest of odds, mental illness is there.
You feel like you are inside of David's head, you can feel every emotion that he is experiencing, you feel his pain, his frustrations, his joy, and in my opinion his ultimate triumphs and joy at the life that he is now leading with Alan aka, The One. You can feel for his parents, and for David, at the shared frustrations of being a parent and not knowing how to help your child, as a child not knowing how to convey what you are experiencing,and yet no matter what happens, no matter how much families may experience levels of estrangement for various reasons, the message that love will get you through things if you can allow yourself to see it.
I loved this book, I am so grateful that David shared his life with us. You can see the tremendous amount of pain and courage that it must have taken to write this book and leave yourself so open to strangers, in the hopes that if one person is feeling what you felt, that here is always hope and a light at the end of the tunnel if you are fortunate enough to find it. I laughed, I cried, as a mother I could relate to the notes on the banana, to the frustration of not knowing how to help your child, that sometimes, even love is not enough. I think everyone can find something in this book that will touch them - parenting, mental illness, homosexuality, love, family, caring, there is something in the book we can all relate to on some level.
Bravo David for baring your soul the way you did. You are an amazing man, son, husband, friend, cook, blogger, and author. I am very proud to call you my friend even if we have never met in person. After all these years of sharing so many food experiences, I thought I knew you, I was wrong.
After reading this, now, I can say I really know, love, and admire David Leite Jul 01, Janet Elsbach rated it liked it Shelves: memoir. Two things I rarely do: read two books at once, and read a lot of memoir. So just recently I read two memoirs at once, not by design but just by accident of them coming from the library at the same time and my having to race unsuccessfully, as it happened their due dates, like two cartons of milk in the fridge.
They are very different books but here they are together in one thought. Notes On A Banana is a big meal, lots of things eaten together, sauce spilling on the table cloth and kids runni Two things I rarely do: read two books at once, and read a lot of memoir. Insomniac City is a cool glass of wine, some cheese, a few crackers and an olive, on the porch in the shade. This is the strength and challenge of both books, to me.
Each style is very true to its author. Before or after? I sometimes wanted Leite to slow down, sort things out a bit. I sometimes needed a mental Tums. I wondered if we were doing the right thing, emptying his pockets this way. The parts more about Hayes and the city, its own character in the story, and the parts where Hayes just talks about his experience of being with his partner, were less complicated to read, for me, and had a lovely quality. Aug 21, Mark rated it really liked it. I absolutely loved Notes on a Banana. I sensed a kindred spirit in David Leite - James Beard-award winning founder of the popular website, Leite's Culinaria - with every page.
I didn't grow up Portuguese, but I had grandmothers who were incredible cooks and loved assembling family around the table to share in the delicious meals they created. That desire to immerse myself in good food and share it with the ones I love is what inspired me to become a baker. I, too, like David, loved acting as a ki I absolutely loved Notes on a Banana. I, too, like David, loved acting as a kid - putting on my own performances in my bedroom, wondering about that day when I would one day be "discovered". This also translated for me into a college education built on fine arts - namely, acting and theatre - and I continue to be an actor in several Milwaukee-area community theatres today sadly, professional theatre has eluded me.
Also like David, I suffer from depression - though probably not to as manic a degree as he does. I understand the ups and downs, and those days when you just can't seem to drag yourself out of bed, or are too frightened to face what the day will bring. You can't pinpoint a reason for these feelings, hard as you try.
I am also a gay man. I could identify with so many of David's thoughts and fears about coming out There was so much I could identify with in this book - I laughed, I cried, I savored every bit. The epilogue at the end truly had me teary-eyed. I'm so thankful to David Leite for so openly and honestly sharing his story with us. May 14, Judith Klinger rated it it was amazing. I don't have any medically recognized mental illnesses; other than a strong streak of Polish veneta. Yet, this book pierced my heart in ways that were totally unexpected. I'm writing this review on Mother's Day, so I'm thinking about being a mother.
I cannot even begin to imagine the trembling heart and hands when David Leite handed this book to his mother. A mother's job is to protect her child, to make life a better place. And maybe David was afraid his mother would be angry or outraged at this raw version of the anguish of David's childhood. Could she have sought medical help sooner for her son's peculiar behavior?
Could she have recognized the struggle to be a whole gay man instead of a tortured wannabe straight man? Maybe this is a raw wound that will always be there for both mother and son. But, it is also a testament to the power of family love. Some part of David knew that his mother and father could read about the pain, the struggle to accept their son's mental illness struggles and his decision to be openly gay and he knew they would love him even more. To be even more proud of his accomplishments.
And even to be proud and forgiving of themselves because to write a memoir this honest, this raw, takes an exceptionally brave and unique person. I don't identify with David's specific struggles, but I most passionately identified with the struggle to be yourself. Kudos to David Leite for elegantly telling his tale that touches the heart in so many ways.
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Mar 15, Robin rated it it was amazing. This was an engaging, informative book and a fast read. It was well-written. David tells us about his life in a way that we understand that his homosexuality was inborn. The other boys sensed he was different, too, but at such a young age, none of them knew what it was.
As he grew, his feelings became more and more defined. He tried to be heterosexual, but it never felt right. It was David himself, after reading a book by another bipolar sufferer, who diagnosed himself. Jul 15, Laura rated it liked it. Having grown up in southeastern Massachusetts with many Azorean Portuguese classmates, I was drawn to this new memoir written by food writer David Leite.
The early chapters of the book richly capture growing up in a multi-generational Portuguese family, first in Fall River, Massachusetts and then in Swansea, a small town nearby. Like many of us, he tries to move away from his ethnic roots, ultimately realizing the beauty of his heritage and finding a way to meld it with his urbane lifestyle.
T Having grown up in southeastern Massachusetts with many Azorean Portuguese classmates, I was drawn to this new memoir written by food writer David Leite. This memoir also grapples with what it was like growing up gay in the 60's and 70's. His self-loathing brings him to a cult-like group which makes him miserable as it tries to make him heteosexual.
All the while, his undiagnosed bipolar disorder runs through the narrative- bouts of depression and then lots of creative energy when hypomanic. The book stalls somewhat in the middle just as David's life is stalling. But the last third takes off as we watch David find the right treatment, discover a career as a food writer and blogger, and find a life rich in friendship and love. The book is infused with humility and a sense of humor. The ending is happy but realistic about how hard it is to keep a long-term relationship afloat.
I found myself really liking David and cheering for him. And I've discovered his food blog which looks just super. What a terrific book!!!
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I plunged into Notes on a Banana on a long plane ride and, by the time I landed state-side, I felt like I was the authors best friend! I laughed out loud at certain points and was moved to tears at the end. The authors voice comes through with great power, authenticity, and clarity, so much so that I felt like I was following him in person through the story. He is clearly very charismatic and he possesses a terrific sense of humor. Yet I was deeply touched by his struggle What a terrific book!!! Yet I was deeply touched by his struggles and felt that I learned a great deal about things I hadnt fully understood before.
Being heterosexual, I never quite grasped the level of shame and self-loathing that one can can feel before embracing ones sexuality. While I had an intellectual understanding of bipolar disorder, I never clearly comprehended the war that rages inside the mind of one who is tossed about with the ever-changing highs and lows of the disease. The author managed to teach me so much about these issues while simultaneously engaging me with his upbeat storytelling. Notes on a Banana is a wonderfully entertaining book, full of colorful descriptions and delightful characters, and yet it is also quite thought-provoking.
A week after reading it, I cant stop thinking about it. Mar 23, Jane rated it really liked it. I enjoyed reading this candid memoir by food writer David Leite. It was an interesting journey that the reader was taken on as he chronicled growing up and into adulthood. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he works as an eighth-grade English teacher. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Compare all 12 new copies. Book Description iUniverse, United States, Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory AAV More information about this seller Contact this seller.
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Established seller since Seller Inventory LQ Book Description iUniverse, Inc. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Seller Inventory LIE Seller Inventory ING Seller Inventory M Notes from the Element: A Memoir.