Hendricks, Judith Ryan 1947(?)–
Hendricks, Judith Ryan 1947(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1947, in San José, CA; married; husband's name, Geoff. Education: Attended Furman University; graduated from Georgia State University.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked variously as a journalist, copywriter, computer instructor, travel agent, and waitress; McGraw Street Bakery, Seattle, WA, baker.
Bread Alone (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Isabel's Daughter (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
The Baker's Apprentice (novel; sequel to Bread Alone), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of nonfiction to San Francisco Chronicle, Tiny Lights, A Journal of Personal Essay, Grand Gourmet (Italy), and London Sunday Express. Short fiction has appeared in Women's Weekly and in anthology American Girls about Town.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel about a female voiceover specialist.
SIDELIGHTS: Judith Ryan Hendricks has worked a variety of jobs, but when she found work at the McGraw Street Bakery in Seattle, she developed a love for all things having to do with baking bread. The experience heavily influenced her and became the inspiration for her first novel, Bread Alone. In this book she tells the story of thirty-year-old Wynter Morrison, whose husband throws her out in favor of a younger woman. Wynter, who finds herself stripped of her previous life in Los Angeles, is left with very little work experience, a single good friend named Mac who lives in Seattle, and alimony payments. Moving north to live near Mac, she takes a job in a Seattle bakery. Hendricks follows Wynter through her period of recovery and her growth into a self-sufficient woman, all the while mining her own experience working in a bakery and including recipes along the way. A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that "Hendricks creates a compelling narrator whose wry, bemused and ultimately wise voice hooks the reader." Neal Wyatt, writing for Booklist, commented that the story is "fun to read and meaningful to remember—no small feat at all." In a review for Library Journal, Robin Nesbitt stated that this "engaging first novel will appeal to fans of a good story and intriguing characters."
In Isabel's Daughter, Hendricks tells the story of Avery Jones, a young woman who was deposited at an orphanage as an infant and who remains bitter toward the mother who abandoned her. At age thirteen, Avery runs away from the orphanage, landing in a small town in New Mexico. She is taken in by an older woman, Cassie, and starts a new life. When Cassie passes away, Avery runs once more, afraid the truth about her past will be revealed. She eventually finds herself in Santa Fe, where a painting provides clues to the identity of her long-lost mother. In a review for School Library Journal, Molly Connally remarked that "while the story is somewhat fantastic, the characters … are well drawn and the dialogue is true to life." A contributor for Publishers Weekly called the book "heartfelt if predictable," and Karen Holt stated in Booklist that "Hendricks writes so convincingly and with such appealing characters that nothing about the book feels tired."
The Baker's Apprentice is a sequel to Bread Alone. In this volume, Wynter Morrison gets the opportunity to help Mac. Unlike Wynter, Mac is not anxious for her to return the favor, despite the fact that they are now in a romantic relationship. However, Wynter has by now become something of a force to be reckoned with, and Hendrick illustrates just how far she has come. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews commented on the lack of plot, while Neal Wyatt, writing for Booklist, found that the book illustrats "heartfelt and committed love, sense of community, and pervasive kindness via fabulously cool and competent heroes." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly concluded that Hendricks's effort is a "warm and savory if somewhat predictable sequel to her debut novel."
Critics have noted that Hendricks's novels contain underlying themes of rebirth and reinvention, their focus on characters forced to radically remake their lives. In an interview with Tatyana Mishel for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the author remarked: "I believe we all reinvent ourselves, and everything we do in life brings us right to where we need to be. All these jobs that I had that I came to hate … now I find uses for a lot of this information."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2001, Neal Wyatt, review of Bread Alone, p. 1840; June 1, 2003, Karen Holt, review of Isabel's Daughter, p. 1742; November 15, 2004, Neal Wyatt, review of The Baker's Apprentice, p. 561.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of The Baker's Apprentice, p. 1107.
Library Journal, July, 2001, Robin Nesbitt, review of Bread Alone, p. 123; February 1, 2005, Robin Nesbitt, review of The Baker's Apprentice, p. 68.
Pages, March-April, 2005, Beth A. Fhaner, "The Queen Street Bakery Revisited," review of The Baker's Apprentice.
Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2001, review of Bread Alone, p. 47; June 2, 2003, review of Isabel's Daughter, p. 36; March 21, 2005, review of The Baker's Apprentice, p. 37.
School Library Journal, September, 2003, Molly Connally, review of Isabel's Daughter, p. 240.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 15, 2005, Tatyana Mishel, "Hendricks Rolls out a Delicious Sequel in 'Baker's Apprentice.'"
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (August 31, 2005), review of Bread Alone.
BookBrowse.com, http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (August 31, 2005), "Judith Ryan Hendricks."
BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 31, 2005), Terry Miller Shannon, review of The Baker's Apprentice.
Judith Ryan Hendricks Home Page, http://www.judithhendricks.com (August 31, 2005).
MyShelf.com, http://www.myshelf.com/ (August 31, 2005), review of The Baker's Apprentice.
Round Table Reviews Online, http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (August 31, 2005), Tracy Farnsworth, review of The Baker's Apprentice.