Skip Navigation
fact or fiction fact or fiction fact or fiction mobile 750x1040 fact or fiction mobile 750x1040

Fact or Fiction: The family business


In Fact or Fiction I recommend a fiction and nonfiction book on the same topic. This month you can choose an engaging novel about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family, a touching memoir about running a family deli or both! Either way you'll enjoy reading these humorous and heartwarming books about family businesses.

Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close

In the warm and witty Marrying the Ketchups, the Sullivan family’s world has been turned upside down. Oh yes, their beloved Cubs finally won the World Series, but Bud Sullivan, the family patriarch, died, the 2016 election did NOT go as expected, and everyone’s relationships are being upended. Sullivan’s, the family-owned restaurant in Chicago, seems to be a safe place to land. Cousins Teddy, Jane and Gretchen are dealing with heartbreak, divorce and the responsibilities of adulthood. Yet even Sullivan’s, shopworn and dated, may not be the panacea the cousins seek. With a host of likeable characters, plenty of Chicago flavor, and lots of yummy food, Marrying the Ketchups is an entertaining family story with a lot of heart.

My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe

In a burst of filial devotion, or perhaps just a burning desire to get out of her parent’s basement, Ben’s wife Gab decided she needed to buy her Korean mother a store. She bought a Korean deli in Brooklyn so her mother could support herself and Gab could repay her mother for all her sacrifices. Ben is a product of boarding schools and Puritanism where  children don’t buy stores for their parents but rather write tell-all memoirs of parental flaws. He finds this plan a little lacking in commonsense.  Love and family duty prevail (not to mention his burning desire to get out of the basement). That’s how the ultra-WASPy Ben, a senior editor of The Paris Review, found himself as the co-owner of a hole-in-the-wall deli in Brooklyn. He's selling lottery tickets, stocking snack food and fighting with his mother-in-law Kay. A thoroughly engaging memoir with lots of fascinating details, My Korean Deli is a sure bet for readers who enjoy slice of life books.

Back to Top