Workhorse, a review by Tanya

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Workhorse: My Sublime and Absurd Years in New York City’s Restaurant Scene
by Kim Reed

288 pages
Published Nov 9, 2021 by Hachette Books

Amazon | Goodreads

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About the Book:
A razor-sharp look at one woman’s nearly two decades in the New York City restaurant, including her time working with Joe Bastianich, and what happens when your job consumes your life.

By day, Kim Reed was a social worker to the homebound elderly in Brooklyn Heights. By night, she scrambled into Manhattan to hostess at Babbo, where even the Pope would have had trouble scoring a reservation, and A-list celebrities squeezed through the jam-packed entryway like everyone else. Despite her whirlwind fifteen-hour workdays, Kim remained up to her eyeballs in grad school debt. Her training—problem solving, crisis intervention, dealing with unpredictable people and random situations—made her the ideal assistant for the volatile Joe Bastianich, a hard-partying, “What’s next?” food and wine entrepreneur. He rose to fame in Italy as a TV star while Kim planned parties, fielded calls, and negotiated deals from two phones on the go.

Decadent food, summers in Milan, and a reservation racket that paid in designer bags and champagne were fun only inasmuch as they filled the void left by being always on call and on edge. In a blink, the years passed, and one day Kim looked up and realized that everything she wanted beyond her job—friends, a relationship, a family, a weekend without twenty ominous emails dropping into her inbox—was out of reach. Workhorse is a deep-dive into coming of age in the chaos of New York City’s foodie craze and an all-too-relatable look at what happens when your job takes over your identity, and when a scandal upends your understanding of where you work and what you do.. After spending years making the impossible possible for someone else, Kim realized she had to do the same for herself.

My Review:

I can sometimes really struggle with enjoying Non-Fiction reads. They can often be dry and textbookish to me, a huge turn off.

Workhorse read like a work of fiction.  The storytelling that Reed used in her own memoir speaks very highly of her writing abilities.  An interesting story that is completely relatable to every Executive Assistant the world over, I’m sure.

The recounting of her New York lifestyle, some of the real world events of the restaurant industry and some celebrity encounters make this one a page-turner.

The overall story felt a little repetitive after the first 40-50% of the book, but interesting nonetheless.

I’ll add this as another successful read for my New York way of life reading list!

Thank you to #HachetteBooks for this #gifted copy of #Workhorse. #HBSocialClub

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