Sweetbitter/Stephanie Danler: New York Journal of Books review

Monday, May 23, 2016

When Nina Friend, one of my thesis students, decided to embark on a work of narrative nonfiction about the art of waiting, I recalled reading a story about Stephanie Danler, a young waitress who had scored big in the book world with the sale of her waitressing-infused novel, Sweetbitter.

Seeking an early copy of the book for Nina, I asked the New York Journal of Books if I might review it. The kind editors there said yes. I got the book, read the first intriguing pages, carried it to Penn on a Tuesday and handed it to Nina, who read—with Nina-style care. Then Nina (who, by the way, is headed to Columbia University's J school) Skyped with Danler herself. Nina thought. She pondered. She ultimately percolated her wonderful restaurant narrative with scenes from Sweetbitter and insights from the author.

Ultimately Sweetbitter found its way back to me, and I now share my thoughts on that novel here, with you.


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