Last week I read Sophie Dahl’s first novel Playing with the Grown-ups. I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I didn’t really have any firm positive or negative expectations and had expected it to probably be OK, but it was more than that: some of the writing was absolutely beautiful and I think her use of language and, in particular, the creative and charming way that she described some things put her on a par with authors far more experienced than her.
My one criticism would be that she perhaps took the famed writing adage ‘show, don’t tell’ a little too seriously: I was left wanting more details about the characters. As far as flaws go this is a reasonably minor one, I admit, but I felt like the book ended a little too soon. This could have been addressed by pruning some of the first half, but on the whole she did really well.
I know that her career as a TV chef was short-lived (I didn’t watch her show), so I hope that she will continue to write instead. She’s really pretty good.