Review: My Fine Fellow

My Fine Fellow: A Delicious Entanglement

by Jennieke Cohen

HarperTeen, 2022

Category: Young Adult
Reviewer: Stacy Mozer

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My Fine Fellow is a thoughtful retelling of My Fair Lady that takes on issues of gender norms and the treatment of Jewish people in England, with the feel of The Great British Bake-Off. It's the story of Elijah Little, a poor boy who is hawking food in an 1830s England where going to culinary school and becoming a gentleman chef is as revered as being royalty. When Helena Higgins discovers Elijah, she decides to make him her project in order to graduate from high honors from the Royal Academy. She bets her friend, Penelope Pickering, that she can turn Elijah from a street hawker to a gentleman. But Helena doesn't know that Elijah is Jewish and that makes a difference in 1830s England. My Fine Fellow is a fun read, especially if you know the story of My Fair Lady and love cooking.

The story feels true to the time period in language and tone. I appreciated the way the author has included real information about how Jewish people were treated during this time period, and found the author's note with additional information fascinating. It is definitely a book that demonstrates the broad diversity of the Jewish experience, including diversity of time period and country of origin. People who love My Fair Lady, The Great British Bake-Off, and Bridgerton would enjoy this novel, so it may be geared more for adults who read young adult than for teens.

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Reviewer Stacy Mozer a veteran elementary school teacher, currently teaching third grade. In addition to teaching, she is a middle grade author and a book blogger.