Restaurant Critic Asked His Wife for One Minor Novel Tweak

Author's hubby is longtime Philadelphia Inquirer staffer Craig LaBan.

ElizabethLabanPicElizabeth LaBan (pictured) has a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University, was once an NBC page here in New York and has worked as a reporter for several newspapers. Based in Philadelphia, she is also a mother of two and the wife of a restaurant critic. So the title of her new novel makes perfect sense. It’s called The Restaurant Critic’s Wife.

However, in a recent Q&A with the outlet for which her husband Craig LaBan works, the author stressed that the fictional critic is very different from her so significant real one. Her husband, who maintains professional anonymity, read several of those drafts and asked for just one specific tweak:

“There’s a moment in the book, and I haven’t told anyone else this, where Sam is reviewing restaurants at the Shore. The kids are little, and he brings macaroni and cheese around to see whether the restaurants will make it and be careful with it. Because if they aren’t careful with that, what else aren’t they being careful about?”

“In the book, in an old version, I had him say, ‘Maybe it will win me a James Beard Award.'”

“But Craig said, ‘That makes me sound awful.’ I softened it. That was the one thing. It wasn’t a deal-breaker.”

Interviewer Molly Eichel ends the interview with a fun question involving protagonist Sam’s leopard-print thong. Husband Craig has been with the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1998.
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