Advice & Resources

Jackie Kai Ellis’ “The Measure of My Powers” (A Book Review)

A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris by Jackie Kai Ellis and my Latest Read!

The Measure of a Great Memoir!

What It’s About/Synopsis:

In The Measure of My Powers, Jackie Kai Ellis takes readers on a journey of food, travel,  and memories as she shares the recipes, cities and experiences that helped inspire her journey of self-discovery and reignite her passion for life again after going through a particularly difficult time and battling depression.

Daring to Share and the Courage to Do So:

The stories that she shares with us are told with remarkable honestly, openness and courage, with the understanding that the only way to write it is for herself, and share in no particular or chronological order other than by the memories associated with particular recipe or that brought to mind an experience that marked a turning point in her journey to self-discovery.

This I realize might throw some readers off; especially if you’re used to typical style that the genre follows; but what I’ve often come to appreciate from reading many heartfelt and truthful memoirs is that it must take tremendous courage to sit down and write on some of life’s difficult experiences, particularly when it comes to choosing those that are okay to share, and which ones to still leave out. It’s something I’ve understood of my own writing process and that Jackie Kai Ellis reflects well by saying “I spent years skipping over the painful parts until I realized that in those moments when I was telling my story, it was I who wasn’t ready to remember these harder moments in such detail.” (pg. 2, The Measure of My Powers).

As a reader and writer I could empathize with the trepidation that comes from digging up stories from one’s past, particularly those that have been difficult to share, but then this is what has also inspired me about reading memoirs, that others have been brave enough to share openly about their experiences and act as great motivation to work on retelling my own story.

Other enticing points to bite into:

It’s also been exciting to find a book that’s centred around two of my favourite interests, food and travel, through a journey of self-discovery. Also while there are many destinations Jackie explores on her quest, one of my favourite locations is Paris. A city that captured my interest since seeing the movie Julie and Julia, and this time I’ve been allowed to explore it vicariously mainly through the world of food as Jackie expands her culinary horizons and shares the recipes that make it a true Parisian experience that’s as delicious to read and explore.

Bonus Feature:

What is really neat about the book is that after you’re done devouring it like I have, and reading about the recipes; you can go back and try them out yourself, as Jackie has included them through the book with detailed instructions, suggestions on how to serve, and what types of ingredients to pick-up and even her preferences on baking or cooking certain dishes.

For all of this I am grateful to have stumbled upon The Measure of My Powers by Jackie Ellis, and since finishing the book in under three weeks it’s definitely going on my highly recommended reading list. 

Final rating: 5/5

Happy Reading, and Until next time Stay You-nique!


Coffee and Pastry image in blog Photo by Basil Lade on Unsplash