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Download The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the Worlds Most Famous Cooking School Audiobook, by Kathleen Flinn Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 5 3.45 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathleen Flinn Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781429592529
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In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six year old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinn’s transformation as she moves through the school’s intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her “wretchedly inadequate” French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the city’s street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail.

The ultimate wish fulfillment book, her story is a true testament to pursuing a dream. Fans of Julie & Julia, My LIfe in France, and Eat, Pray, Love will be amused, inspired, and richly rewarded by this seductive tale of romance, Paris, and French food.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I can never get enough of true stories about people who stop in the middle of their life’s journey to ask, ‘What do I really want?’ and then have the guts to actually go get it. Kathleen Flinn’s tale of chasing her ultimate dream makes for a really lovely book—engaging, intelligent, and surprisingly suspenseful.”

    Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

  • The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is an engaging story about a fantasy fulfilled. It’s Under the Tuscan Sun goes to cooking school.”

    Michal Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristee | 2/19/2014

    " I did not care for the writing style however I liked how in the book Kathleen suggests the idea of living her life in a more meaningful way and discovering her authentic self by pursuing her dream of going to Le Cordon Bleu. Her experience seemed to teach her life lessons in taking risks, working hard, accepting her limitations, and allowing others to become real to her. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Foodies | 2/19/2014

    " Love love love this book! Kathleen I will treasure it when I need to escape once again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacqueline | 2/11/2014

    " I couldn't get into this. I didn't ever really care about the author, and while the school is also a major character in the book, I was never able to care much about it, either. The cheesy "moral / life lesson" at the end of each very short chapter was annoying. And, I stopped reading the recipes at the end of each chapter, as the more complicated they got, the more they damaged my (already crumbling) self-esteem when it comes to cooking/baking/boiling water. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ty | 2/7/2014

    " this book is the story of a woman who loses her job that she did not like and decides to go for her life long dream of attending the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. i thought it was a very entertaining story, with just the right combination of personal drama mixed with the difficulties of attending a very difficult and rigorous cooking school in France, without knowing French. some laughs and tears along the way for good measure. a good read for those into things cooking or French, so i win both ways. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 1/30/2014

    " I like how she describes French culture. I kinda want to visit Paris again soon. All the meat she cooks. eh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth Rothe | 1/24/2014

    " A bit dry and tasteless for what is a story about the most hallowed cooking school in the most romantic city. Haven't tried the recipes yet, maybe they're better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chad Fairey | 1/20/2014

    " Despite my own personal fantasy of one-day completing the full regimen at Le Cordon Bleu, and thus my proclivity to find almost anything related to french culinary arts absolutely riveting, II found this book a bit underwhelming. I did a poisson et fruits de mer course at the Cordon Bleu when we lived in Paris, so perhaps some of the mystique was shattered for me. This book had some good moments, but most were situational details and not necessarily literary flourishes. I didn't feel connected to her as a cook, either, which is a critical factor in a book like this. I appreciated the idea, the effort and the inclusion of detail and recipes --- but I felt myself longing for more after it was over. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lonely Planet | 1/18/2014

    " Not exciting, but a pleasure to read if you want to know what it's like to be a student at the famous Le Cordon Bleu-Paris cooking school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 1/4/2014

    " I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had feared more love drama and less cooking but the author did a good job of balancing the two. The writing was very good and I laughed out loud at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina Bégin | 1/2/2014

    " An entertaining read about the life of a culinary student- I think it would even be entertaining to those who aren't in love with cooking and food. Easy, quick read and enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 12/27/2013

    " Somewhat interesting, but who would willingly put themselves through all that? And I like to cook! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Shugarman | 12/25/2013

    " a delightful read. Kathleen Finn knows how to tell a story! I loved hearing her cooking tips and tricks amist the paragraphs of life and love and having my mouth endlessly water throughout the book as she shared narrative of her favorite Paris eats and cooking school recipes of wonder!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 11/9/2013

    " Love Kathleen Flinn. Wonderfully witty! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen Blakely | 11/7/2013

    " Nice easy read. Fun if you like to cook! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois | 8/30/2013

    " Well written; a little too journalism 101 for me what with the tidy little life lessons at the end of each chapter. Best part was the inside look at Le Cordon Bleu and insights about living as an American in Paris, how the Parisians are not as horrible as they're reputed to be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 7/25/2013

    " This was a fun read. It made me want to go watch Sabrina. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alan Smith | 3/1/2013

    " Great read about an American moving to Paris and learning cooking at Le Cordon Blue where Julia Child learned to cook. It is great to read a story about someone following their dream - makes you want to move to Paris and go to school there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/20/2013

    " Most enjoyable. Good writing and descriptions. Includes recipes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joseph | 10/16/2012

    " not great literature, but a fun and engaging read if you're into cooking and travel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianne Oliver | 5/13/2012

    " One can only live one life, but how fun it is to read about anothers. The telling seemed a bit dry, but I still enjoyed the experiences at Le Cordon Bleu that she shared. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 5/10/2012

    " That was pretty good. I love books about food, combining food and storytelling and emotion. The French got a bit annoying, particularly when she stopped translating, as I don't speak French, but all in all this was a good quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 3/25/2012

    " This was a fun read. It was interesting to read this and "My Life in France". They both made me hungry. I enjoyed reading the recipes that were included. I'm not sure how much you would enjoy this book if you were not interested in cooking, though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lalagrace | 2/2/2012

    " Someday I will go to culinary school, but not in France! well written, wonderful recipes "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 SOS | 1/15/2012

    " Flat, utterly boring book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Staci Buchwald | 12/13/2011

    " Not my favorite cooking memoir, but was enjoyable for fun light reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 12/3/2011

    " I loved this story of a writer going to the Cordon Bleu after losing her job in a different career. She tells it like it is and how strict the French are but in the end, she survives and masters the program. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Morgan | 10/28/2011

    " The introduction made me think that I was going to hate this book because of the author. I didn't. It took me a bit to read. Didn't hold my attention. Not a stand out read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 10/16/2011

    " Kathleen Flynn, aged 36, loses her strived for senior management position. With the urging of her boy friend, she pursues her dream -- going to the Cordon Bleu cooking school, and becoming a journalist. She's an excellent story teller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brianna | 5/23/2011

    " Takes me back to the days of Culinary School "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 5/6/2011

    " A typical woman-starting-over-in-her-30s story but the Le Cordon Bleu stuff sets this book apart. I'd much rather read this than a certain popular book about a woman bumming around Europe getting vague spiritual advice from gurus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darlene | 4/13/2011

    " Another very interesting chef book. I was appalled that the teaching chefs allowed her to be sliced on the arm with a knife, and poked in the butt with something sharp.
    I think there's a testosterone-laden atmosphere in those places. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 4/5/2011

    " Well-written account of going to culinary school from someone a little bit older than 20-something ;) Very touching with yummy recipes at the end of each chapter. And the love story wasn't too sappy. Even for me ;) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellemiek | 4/1/2011

    " I liked this book a lot and I thought it very inspiring as a matter of fact it inspired me so much that I am enrolling in the patisserie class at the Cordon Bleu next year! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JKrener | 3/10/2011

    " I am a sucker for food lit. This wasn't really lit, but fun nevertheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 2/25/2011

    " Not so impressed with her writing. She tries to be clever, but kinda misses the mark. But I like the feel of the story. It was positive, fun. How amazing to see people go for their dreams. I love that theme! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/24/2011

    " I kind of liked it - too many lists for me, list of ingredients, lists of students, lists of recipes, but there was something endearing about the author... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joy | 2/17/2011

    " I loved this book. The story was well written. As you read the book, you really feel what the author is feeling. It did drag a little toward the end but it had a good closing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dena | 2/8/2011

    " was enticed to read this book b/c I have been reading the authors blog. Have discovered that blogging does not an author make. Writing style is unimaginative but did like reading about what Le Cordon Bleu thinks are essential french cooking
    techniques & recipes "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kl | 2/2/2011

    " I loved this book. For someone who has a passion for France and a passion for cooking I couldn't put it down. I could hear her joy, her pain, her wonder. What a fantastic memoir!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alisa | 1/30/2011

    " Full disclosure: the author is a friend. Still, I found this food memoir gripping, interesting and informative. Who knew that my issue with onions had to do with my knife? This is a great read for food lovers. It made me want to travel to France, and I can't wait for Kathleen's next book. "

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About the Author
Author Kathleen Flinn

Kathleen Flinn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and other publications. The director of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, she lives in Seattle and Florida.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.