Customer Reviews for

Corked: A Memoir

Average Rating 2.5
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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Corked by Kathryn Borel

    My Thoughts:

    The thing I enjoyed best about reading this book, was its eye-catching mustard-yellow cover. I even loved the font used for the title. I was sure I was going to enjoy immersing myself in the romantic wine country and culture of France, but I have to say with honesty, that did not happen. The book focuses on the rather pathetic relationship of Kathryn Borel and her father, Philippe. In itself, that might be okay for the sake of reality, but it's not at all entertaining or engaging. I think the author forgot that a reader needs to feel something for the main characters, at the very least, pity, compassion, or mild interest, in order to stick with the reading. Personally, I detested Philippe, and felt no compunction to listen to Kathryn's recounting of her story. While the author gives us some very nice descriptions, at times, the foul language and repulsive crudeness at other times, nullified its impact. I guess you could say, as a reader, I just didn't get it. So I'm giving this book my lowest rating. I use Acceptable to allow that others might feel differently.

    A complimentary review copy was provided by The Hachette Book Group

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wine aficionados will delight in CORKED's vintages, but readers thirsting for a heartwarming memoir need to open another bottle

    How do some books get published? In the case of CORKED, it is apparent that if Kathryn Borel wasn't a radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, her memoir would not have seen the light of day. It seems the Hachette Book Group took a chance on Kathryn more for who she is than what she wrote.

    The angle focuses on the struggle of a father and daughter to connect. Kathryn records her mixed emotions regarding her father, Philippe. During a trip to France, they visit world-renown vineyards. Philippe is a wine connoisseur, while Kathryn is uncomfortable expressing herself in the language of the palette.

    Her emotions are corked. They are not gaining release. Months prior to the trip, she accidentally killed a jaywalking pedestrian. Due to the coincidence of her boyfriend's father having previously died in a car crash, their relationship becomes strained and eventually ends. She cannot return the intensity of his love, yet she continues to reach out to him in moments of weakness. Kathryn is fully aware that she is selfishly using him, but can't seem to help herself.

    Philippe's feelings, on the other hand, are always on the surface ready to explode or shrouded beneath a sulky silence. He's either making a scene in a restaurant over a perceived lack of service or refusing to utter a word during a winery tour due to the supposed impoliteness of their host. He also frequently acts inappropriately around his daughter appearing in nothing but a towel or discussing his sexual prowess.

    An aspect that is especially grating is the display of insensitivity. In grade school, Kathryn joked about having Down Syndrome and reflects on the moment in a comical light. When arguing with her father while driving, she threatens to crash into a tree causing a murder/suicide. She continues to hound her ex-boyfriend with emails and text messages while having casual sex with three different men.

    The pair's manners regarding hygiene are quite atrocious. Philippe reuses soiled Q-tips. Kathryn picks lint out of her belly button in public. They find camaraderie in the sentiment, "Do you ever get the feeling that you just want to take a baby and kick it across the room and watch it smash against the wall?"

    Philippe is not the best of fathers. He has a hard time remembering Kathryn's date of birth. He lets strange men ogle his daughter's breasts without saying a word. But the main point of contention is that he didn't offer Kathryn the emotional support she needed after the accident. As their trip comes to a close, Philippe reveals a long-held secret about his past. Does this excuse his past cowardly, selfish behavior? Do they reach a turning point in their relationship? It's hard to say.

    Overall, wine aficionados will delight in CORKED's vintages, but readers thirsting for a heartwarming memoir need to open another bottle.

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    Posted March 30, 2010

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