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Publisher's Summary

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite's Culinaria - a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.
Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. A clever and determined dreamer with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, "Banana", as his mother endearingly called him, obsessed over proper hair care, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of bipolar disorder. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-30s, David found relief from his wild mood swings in cooking, Julia Child, and a Viking stove he named Thor.
Notes on a Banana is his heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, yet tender memoir of growing up, accepting himself, and turning his love of food into an award-winning career. Reminiscing about the people and events that shaped him, David looks back at the highs and lows of his life, from his rejection of being gay and his attempt to "turn straight" through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan, to becoming a writer, cookbook author, and web publisher, to his 23-year relationship with Alan, known to millions of David's readers and listeners as "The One", which began with (what else?) food. Woven throughout these stories are the dishes David loves - the tastes that led him to happiness, health, and success.
A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind; the food memoirs of Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton; and the character-rich storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and ultimately heals.
©2017 David Leite (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

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By Kathryn on 08-23-17

Finished it in a day!

I couldn't put this book down at all. I think the fact that the author read it himself made it that much more special and personable.

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By Laura on 06-12-17


Read by the author David Leite, this memoir is as superbly written as it is narrated and should not be missed whether you suffer from mental illness, know someone who does, or not. A life beautifully portrayed with depth, transparency, and brutal honesty David Leite is an inspiration to us all. Well done David, well done.

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Customer Reviews

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By Margie.c on 06-02-17

An amazing revelation

I found David's story a moving experience, sometimes wishing I wasn't reading it, sometimes moved to tears, sometimes so sad for him but always engaged by his openness and honesty in telling what is a very painful and personal journey. The end result? Uplifted by his, and Ian's, connection and support for one another through a journey, so complex that I can't imagine. I loved David's engagement in the story as he retold pain, euphoria and everything in between, through his voice, and that of others on his lifelong journey. Thankyou David for this gift of yourself. Whilst feeling humbled by so much talent you also give meaning and perspective to lives lived in fullness by anyone who chooses to stay the course. Margaret

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