Reviews for Notes on a Banana

Cheering Crowd

A Paste Magazine Best Book of the Year

One of TimeOut New York’s Best Summer Beach Reads of 2017

One of Real Simple‘s 25 Best Father’s Day Books

“A terrific contribution to understanding not only the experience of bipolar illness but the experience of life: warm, funny, poignant, and human.”—Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind

“In his excellent book, Notes on a Banana, David Leite has managed the unlikely feat of combining a work of laugh-out-loud humor with the solemn subject of mental illness. A splendid and entertaining book.”–Dick Cavett

“Leite’s memoir is a true literary feast for the soul, presented with creative, honest prose, droll anecdotes, and…a happy ending.”–The Bay Area Reporter

“In sharp-tongued, often hilarious, deeply honest prose, Leite has brilliantly captured both the light and dark of bipolar disorder. But this book does so much more than that. Notes on a Banana explores the intricate relationships between culture and family, friendship and food, love and the body, body and soul. This is not a book about a disorderly mind so much as it is about the astonishing resilience of the human heart. Leite has written a book for us all.”—Marya Hornbacher, New York Times Bestselling Author of Madness: A Bipolar Life

“In his masterful new memoir, David Leite weaves together three of my favorite things: food, humor, and debilitating mental illness. Notes on a Banana is beautifully crafted, inspiring, and poignantly honest. A must read for all foodies and memoir lovers who know the power food and family have to overcome nearly every obstacle in life.”–Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not Myself These Days

“An honest look at overcoming a life fraught with anguish and obstacles, from an awkward youth through his turbulent teens and twenties, David Leite emerged as one of the best food writers of our generation. Notes on a Banana is the brutally forthright story of a man who found love, and finally his calling . . . in the kitchen.”–David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen

“A tender, funny and sadly real story—one that will certainly resonate with readers.”—TimeOut New York

“In Notes on a Banana, Leite bravely lets us into his world filled with family, food, mental illness and his struggle with coming to terms with his sexual identity . . . a beautifully-written book . . . poignant and rich, as some of us who love Leite’s work, have come to expect.”–Forbes

“Warm, witty, [and] sometimes heartbreaking . . . Fans of the author’s James Beard Award-winning website, Leite’s Culinaria . . . won’t be surprised by his wonderful sense of humor and his keen powers of observation . . . candid and charming.”–Booklist

“In this coming-of-age story and chronicle of self-acceptance, Leite impressively finds honesty and humor in the darkest of circumstances, making this a strong debut memoir. A brave and moving tale of food, family, and psychology.”–Kirkus Review

“Ruthlessly candid . . . The book is funny and hopeful even during some of its darkest passages, a deft balancing act that has brought Leite pre-publication comparisons with Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris.”–Connecticut Post

“Expertly walks the line between sad and funny . . . [Leite’s] firsthand account of mental illness pulls no punches, serving up an honest and open perspective on personal and family issues that are often swept under the rug.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“One of the finest portraits of bipolar disorder I have ever read.”–Paste

“A witty account . . . readers will enjoy Leite’s ability to bring levity to a host of serious—and sometimes sad—subjects. The book gives a universal account of complications that many lives encounter, but Notes on a Banana brings levity and humor to the hardships the author recounts.”–Associated Press

“Tender and honest, this reflection on what it means to grow up and find yourself will make dad both laugh and cry.”–Real Simple, 25 Father’s Day Books That Cover All of Dad’s Interests

“Born into a devout immigrant community that didn’t believe in psychiatry or being gay, Leite fought for twenty-five years to understand the truth about himself–his triumph is rich with lessons for us all.”–Drew Ramsey, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, and author of Eat Complete


  1. I am hosting a book club event and don’t see any questions to encourage discussions. Also, spending way too much time trying to find just the right dishes to serve the ladies during our meeting. Suggestions?

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.