The Wine Girl is a story that many young girls are secretly dreaming of writing right from their getaway cars one day. The helplessness of being stuck in a situation that you were put into by birth. Witnessing yourself and your siblings being deprived of the love, care, and nourishment that every child deserves and not having enough time even to hold them and comfort them because you have to be the adult must be shattering for a human being.
Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier (Review)
This story is about an unbridled circumstance, not breaking an individual but pushing them towards becoming their best self. Love and our bonds also play a huge role in our success. When we have people who depend on us emotionally, people who look up to us, be it a child, a sibling, or even a pet, it drives you to set an example for them. You want to make sure their life is better than yours. I would urge every ambitious person who might feel lost in a loop for a while now, to read this book."When we have people who depend on us emotionally, people who look up to us, be it a child, a sibling, or even a pet, it drives you to set an example for them." Do you agree?
Throughout her life, Victoria James has shown us that time, hard work, and persistence can beat the odds.
The book also gives us an insight into the seemingly glamorous world of sommeliers and the glistening hospitality industry. A world in which a massive amount of hard work and constant cultivation of one’s talent is the only morphine strong enough for women’s misogyny. It’s not all that different in other industries; however, in hospitality, the hours required and patriarchy involved leads to overqualified women often settling for jobs beneath their capabilities. In my understanding of the story, I feel that many of the reasons behind her threshold for pain and hard work go back to her childhood years.
Victoria’s childhood was very turbulent, where her mother was suffering from undiagnosed and untreated depression. This led her to often not come out of her room for days and even feed her children. In the book, Victoria mentions, as children, they would be innovative and make food out of scraps or pickles, and often during long shifts at work where she would go without food for ten hours, she would relate those times back to her childhood days.
One day her father packed up the kids and moved them away while their mother was grocery shopping. Her mother spotted the car around a corner, and her father opened a window and announced his intentions. That is probably the first time that Victoria saw her mother expressing maternal instincts as she ran after the car, after her children who were being taken away. Her mother caught a door open, and Victoria, under her father’s anarchy, had to make the ever punishing choice of shutting the door. The thud of the door would go on to haunt her well into adulthood. With that same noise, her attacker will announce his assault on a fateful winter night of her teenage years when she was getting back home from a late shift at a diner where she worked.
Her childhood endeavors of survival and mental peace like setting up a lemonade stand as a child and tasting the first fruit of a successful venture or serving drinks in Atlantic city as her father gambled away their money under the influence of alcohol and addiction, is what set up the natural instinct for disaster management in her. Good looks and youth in women often make them vulnerable to bullying and abuse in any toxic atmosphere. However, I feel that more than the bruises on her body, what must have really hurt her was being called a Wine Girl despite winning a number of competitions, gaining master qualifications in her field, and earning a Michelin star only after four months of opening her restaurant.
The reason why I love this story so much and find Victoria James to be an inspiring idol for so many people is that she has used the very label people gave her and successfully crowned herself with the brand she built out of it – The Wine Girl.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone looking for a nudge in the right direction; it will empower you and leave you believing in your ability to achieve your goals despite your color, gender, or upbringing.