Wanna Cook?
Ensley F. Guffey and K. Dale Koontz
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Buy *Wanna Cook?: The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad* by Ensley F. Guffey and K. Dale Koontzo nline

Wanna Cook?: The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad
Ensley F. Guffey and K. Dale Koontz
ECW Press
Paperback
500 pages
May 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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A plethora of books are hitting the market with the ending of the epic TV series Breaking Bad. This review will be about one of those books that is just about to join the ever more crowded Breaking Bad waters. I will start this review by fessing up--I am a Breaking Bad fan (a big one) and did watch every show and have gone through some serious withdrawals since the show went dark. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's talk about Wanna Cook?

The book as titled is a companion piece to the series and is written with the perspective that you could read the book without having seen the series. They do talk of spoiler alerts throughout the book, but the reality is you have to see the shows first. They do write the episode reviews without giving away every turn and surprise, but trust me, everything flows much better if you see the shows first.

With that in mind, the book provides an episode-by-episode review. Those episodic reviews provide a level of analysis that are eye opening and insightful. As stated prior, I have watched all of the episodes, some multiple times, but the book delves into a level of detail and insight that a viewer (at least this viewer) often missed.

The book looks at the symbolism that is rampant in every show, some of it obvious but many times very subtle--which was exactly the style of show creator Vince Gilligan and his writing team intended. Every aspect of the show is dissected and discussed. The linkages of key and obscure topics; dialogue; lighting; camera work; color pallets; music; and props. Every nuance is pulled apart and analyzed for its meaning.

Then the book goes two levels deeper for all of the under-surface connections. Very revealing and thought-provoking. The book also describes the key signature characteristics of the series. The camera angles, the non-linear story lines, the "cold" opens that get put together piece by piece in a complex puzzle that ultimately tells the arc of the story.

At the end of every season/section, there is an essay on a key topic that adds to the understanding and at times realism that made Breaking Bad so compelling. Those essays just add more of the backstory to the overall understanding and appreciation for the show.

After reading the book, I know what I have to do--I have no choice. I have to go back and see every Breaking Bad episode again to dive deeper into the morass and put together the pieces that I missed first time around. Wanna Cook? makes you want to do that. Sort of like an addiction, don't you think?



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Mick Rosen, 2014

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