Author: Michelle Huneven
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine | Humor| Literary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Book Description: From critically acclaimed, award-winning author Michelle Huneven, a sharp and funny novel of a congregational search committee, told as a memoir with recipes
Dana Potowski is a restaurant critic and food writer and a longtime member of a progressive Unitarian Universalist congregation in Southern California. Just as she’s finishing the book tour for her latest bestseller, Dana is asked to join the church search committee for a new minister. Under pressure to find her next book idea, she agrees, and resolves to secretly pen a memoir, with recipes, about the experience. That memoir, Search, follows the travails of the committee and their candidates—and becomes its own media sensation.
Dana had good material to work with: the committee is a wide-ranging mix of Unitarian Universalist congregants, and their candidates range from a baker and microbrew master/pastor to a reverend who identifies as both a witch and an environmental warrior. Ultimately, the committee faces a stark choice between two very different paths forward for the congregation. Although she may have been ambivalent about joining the committee, Dana finds that she cares deeply about the fate of this institution and she will fight the entire committee, if necessary, to win the day for her side.
This wry and wise tale will speak to anyone who has ever gone searching, and James Beard Award–winning author Michelle Huneven’s food writing and recipes add flavor to the delightful journey.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: I am not sure how I came across this book, but I am so glad that I read this delightful story, about a smallish church in California in search for a new minister.
Dana is our narrator for this funny story. She is a food critic, cook book author and a beloved member of a progressive church in Ca. When they find out their current minister will be retiring in 1 year she puts her name up to be part of the year long search committee to find the church’s next minister, and maybe write a novel based on this experience.
Once accepted into this committee we meet the rest of this committee who could not be any different from each other. We have a man that is part of a thruple, a young woman whose parents paid her way to the committee, some mainstays, and a few that are not even members of the church. The one thing they agree upon that is that want someone fresh to come in and change up some things.
Huneven writes the one year of how a search like this would potentially go, from bonding, to pre-interviews, to the final offer. There were lot’s of cringe worthy moments in this book, along with laughter and all the bickering you would expect when performing a search like this.
Super fun book to read, and great for discussion, especially the culmination of who the committee ends up selecting. I had so much fun with this story. Bonus, Cassandra Campbell is the narrator for the audiobook and she was just perfect, if you want to try that medium.
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.