Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: My Delicious Life With Paula Deen by Michael Groover

Aloha! I've arrived to my mom's place in the islands, and boy am I a happy camper. The mad rush that precedes a vacation or long trip can be maddening, but I have such nice friends, that I'm feeling really calm now (thanks Sarah & Doc, you both are the best).

Anyway, over Memorial Day Weekend, I did have a little time to lay low and not do much of anything...but anticipate the mad rush coming my way. I had checked out the autobiography of Paula Deen's husband, curious about this "late-in-life" romance between the famous celebrity TV chef and her boat captain husband. Autobiographies don't seem to take long for me to read, so I had this one put away in just a few short hours, and to be honest, I'm still not sure what I think.

Synopsis: The basic premise of the autobiography is to set up and introduce Michael Groover's marriage to famous Paula Deen. A strong man in his own rights, you get an early sense that this man is not one to enjoy the limelight, but loves the crazy life that he has built with Deen. Michael grew up on the Georgia coastline, in the city of Savannah. As a life-long resident, his love of Savannah, the south, and of the sea are ever prevalent in his upbringing and story. His own professional life started on the water, where he worked his way up to captain. On the personal side of his life, he married young and had a son and a daughter. That marriage eventually failed, leaving him seemingly eager to be a bachelor for the rest of his life. His desires to be a bachelor didn't curb some of the "hard living" that we might consider of a boat captain. Michael talked about drinking hard, being with women, and living alone...all until Paula chased an errant dog into his yard.

From the moment the two met, it wasn't necessarily love at first sight, but Michael did find Paula really beautiful. It also seems she was one flirtatious lady who worked her way into his life. Their relationship developed over a couple of years as her career started to take off, but both were afraid to commit to anything, and Michael's daughter was less than enthused to see them together. We all know how the rest went, since they did end up together (thus the autobiography). The remainder of the book discusses how they've dealt with her fame, the places they've traveled, and how they work through the tough times together.

Review: While an interesting read, because I love reading about people and their lives, the story and its delivery were a bit jarring. The writer who helped Michael put the autobiography together did a good job of helping us hear Michael, as it felt conversational in a lot of ways, but it was that conversational style that also made it feel awkward. I'm not sure if it was jarring because of the gap between what I knew and thought about the two of them, and what he presented as the truth, or if it was just that the two of them really were as rough around the edges as they said in the opening of the book. Either way, I found the stories of sexual encounters, licentious living, and passing gas to be less entertaining and more distracting from the underlying story of two people who had found one another later in life...and happened to be on television.

I really like Paula Deen, and have even seen many of the Food Network specials that have featured Paula and Michael on their wedding day, in Europe, and in the Caribbean. Together, they seemed like the perfect team. She was fiery and loud, he was calm and quiet. She joked around with awkward sexual innuendos, he smiled quietly and looked the other way. Then you read the book, and find that she is just like that in real life, to the point that she sometimes embarrasses Michael. He is also pretty fiery, getting into a couple of near altercations with rude people wanting to cash in on Paula's fame, and up front about his conservative opinions about "Yankees" and gays. He admits to having his eyes opened about good people, of all sorts, and his opinions changing, which is nice. It does seem though, that in a lot of ways that his way of addressing things is grabbing at straws. I got his flavor, and that he is his own man, excited about his bigger than life future with Paula Deen, but I have to say that the delivery was odd. I really wanted to embrace this down-home delivery and life story, but it really had me wanting to read sections out loud to someone to see if they scrunched up their face as often as I did.

If you like Paula Deen and Michael, by all means pick up his autobiography to learn more about this unique couple. I would just say that you might learn some things that you wished you hadn't. (You know, it's strangely like catching your mom and dad in bed together. Awkward.) I think that more about HOW they blended their lives together, how they overcame their fears, and less about their strange actions and behaviors that make them so outrageous and lovable to one another would have been much better. Still, read it if you love them, and if you like Michael's voice then you'll enjoy the book.

*FTC Disclosure: Review is based off of a library copy of the book.


  1. Hm, I'm a fan of neither, so I think I'll skip this one. :) I like the love story, though!

  2. My mom is a huge fan of Paula's and I really like her too. She's hilarious even if a bit loud. Anyhow my mom may like this book - I didn't know he had one out. I think though she'd agree with you and say she'd rather have more of the story of how they got to where they are now and not the other stuff. I'll warn her first before I pick it up for her.

  3. I like Paula, but I'm not a big fan of biographies. I think I'll skip them. They sound like such a neat couple!

  4. I love Paula, but I'm not certain I like her enough to want to read about her personal life. I admire your bravery into delving into the more intimate aspects of her life! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I was really curious what her husband does/did for a living. They seem like a great couple. I think I will pass on the book though, seems like TMI!