Hardcover Ó Cakewalk ePUB Ú
From the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath comes a funny, touching memoir of a crummy—and crumby—childhoodGrowing up in the s and ’s, Kate Moses was surrounded by sugar: Twinkies in the basement freezer, honey on the fried chicken, Baby Ruth bars in her father’s sock drawer But sweetness of the intangible variety was harder to come by Her parents were disastrously mismatched, far too preoccupied with their mutual misery to notice its effects on their kids A frustrated artist, Kate’s beautiful, capricious mother lived in a constant state of creative and marital emergency, enlisting Kate as her confidante—“We’re the girls, we have to stick together”—and instructing her three children to refer to her in public as their babysitter Kate’s father was aloof, ambitious, and prone to blasts of withering abuse increasingly directed at the daughter who found herself standing between her embattled parents Kate looked for comfort in the imaginary worlds of books and found refuge in the kitchen, where she taught herself to bake and entered the one realm where she was able to wield controlTelling her own story with the same lyricism, compassion, and eye for lush detail she brings to her fiction, coupled with the candor and humor she is known for in her personal essays, Kate Moses leavens each tale of her comingofage in Cakewalk with a recipe from her lifetime of confectionary obsession There is the mysteriously erotic German Chocolate Cake implicated in a birdsandbees speech when Kate was seven, the gingerbread people her mother baked for Christmas the year Kate officially realized she was fat, the chocolate chip cookies Kate used to curry favor during a hilariously gruesome adolescence, and the brownies she baked for her idol, the legendary MFK Fisher, who pronounced them “delicious”Filled with the abundance and joy that were so lacking in Kate’s youth, Cakewalk is a wise, loving tribute to life in all its sweetness as well as its bitterness and, ultimately, a recipe for forgiveness I loved the idea of this book stories from the author's life with recipes at the end of each chapter relating to what you've just read However I just wasn't able to connect and enjoy the stories. So did not want to finish this book because it just kind of unraveled 2/3rds of the way through, but as I told several good friends (after throwing the book across the room) I have to finish because I have to warn the others.I've noted before that I'll read just about any memoir, but I believe it's actually very difficult to write a good memoir This one started out so well Crazy/crappy childhood with eccentric and/or inattentive parents interspersed with recipes for baked goodsi.e the stress of bad parenting sweetened by sugar A perfect memoir recipe if you will.To illustrate why this book failed I am going to use a book by Vivian Gornick'The Situation and the Story.' Gornick writes that in all our life stories, there is the situation, our circumstances, and it is the writer's job to turn this situation into a story That is decide what is the overall theme of one's life and use one's various situations to illustrate, bringing some stories into sharper focus and tamping others down Let's face it: everything that happens to us is not important The book the best illustrates this concept for me is 'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls Walls' situation: horrifying and haphazard parenting But what's the story? Even the worst parents still bestow incredible gifts Reading Walls' book, I never believed until the end that she would redeem her parents and I was so incensed at them throughout the book But, at the end, she turned it around and had the reader viewing them with the same love and compassion as the author.'Cakewalk' is all situation; Moses has not found her story Her mother goes from eccentric provider of a somewhat magical childhood to monster as the young adult's parent The father is either completely absent or unspeakably cruel, but is suddenly reconciled with the author when she leaves for college How these tremendous arcs are accomplished is never explained The author goes from fat to thin with no explanation She finds herself married and divorced in her midtwenties, again with no story In short, she essentially writes down everything that happened to her, threw in some awesome (hence the two stars) recipes and called it a day She makes no sense of her life for the reader Also, just a side note, but writers should not use who they know to make themselvesinteresting Moses was friends with both Kay Boyle and MFK Fisher (yes, I will admit to jealousy) but they do not add to her story. I'm glad I disregarded the litany of negative reviews before starting this book I'm not a seasoned critic by any means, but I believe the purpose of writing a memoir is to draw the reader into your world Kate Moses succeeded to that end, at least as far as I'm concerned.Although my story so far is vastly different from hers, I found myself wanting to sit with her over a cup of tea and a slice of cake (her recipes are ridiculous and I envy her talents) and just expound on life in general and the joys and sorrows of being a woman.Reading about the struggles she encountered, I wanted to put my arms around her When she triumphed, I wanted to celebrate with her This is how we as women, at our best, are wired I am so looking forward to sharing this book with the ladies in my book swap group, because those are the kinds of relationships we have formed.Every person has a story that is unique and valuable, and I thank Kate Moses for sharing hers with me. a beautiful book,a delicious book,a book about survival and redemption and life and love.and cakes!