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Eat cake : a novel
2002
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Ruth Nash (Female), Housewife, Married, Mother, Sam's wife; loves to bake
Sam Nash (Male), Administrator, Married, Father, Unemployed, Ruth's husband; recently lost his hospital administration job
Camille Nash (Female), Student, Ruth and Sam's daughter
Genre
Domestic
Fiction
Topics
Extended families
Life changes
Unemployment
Financial problems
Cooking
Escapism
Family businesses
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Ruth's greatest comfort is baking cakes. Her family usually doesn't appreciate the effort, but she's doing even more of it now that her husband has lost his job; her father, a piano player (think hotel lounges) who has been estranged from her and her mother since Ruth was two years old, shatters both wrists and comes to stay with her; her mother, who lives with Ruth and her family, hates her father; her 16-year-old daughter thinks it is all just too much; and Ruth's stress level has risen immeasurably. How Ruth's baking talents-and the hidden talents of the others- combine to create something wonderful is at the heart of this funny, witty, and delicious novel. Ray writes with such love of the process of baking that most listeners will be inspired; her prose makes bakers want to rush to the kitchen. The author narrates her novel with humor and warmth. Her reading is sometimes not quite as smooth as a professional's, but that small flaw is overcome by her affection for the characters-their identity is always clear. A very comforting, entertaining, and enjoyable listening experience. Highly recommended.-Melody A. Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Ruth, a Minneapolis wife and mother, bakes to relax the way others do yoga. And it's a good thing she does, because a house full of cantankerous family members seriously challenges her ability to remain serene in this fluffy, enjoyable third novel by Ray (Julie and Romeo; Step-Ball-Change). Cake is Ruth's version of Zen, allowing her to lose herself in the ritual of familiar smells and precise measurements. She's dealing well with her moody teen daughter, Camille; college student son, Wyatt; and sometimes cantankerous live-in mother, Hollis. She's even handling husband Sam's recent unemployment. But when Guy, Ruth's oft-estranged father and Hollis's ex-husband, is left physically helpless after an injury and must join the chaotic household, just how much cake will she have to bake to save her sanity? The answer is predictably uplifting. Ruth falls right in line with Ray's past harried heroines: she is a cheerful and good-natured caretaker who doesn't neglect herself, but whose happiness and identity is utterly intertwined with her family's. Ray's dialogue is ripe with practical wisdom ("`Oh, there's order in the world all right. It just might not be the order you want'"), and her style is warm and lightly funny ("My mother looked at me as if I had told her I was going to move to Memphis and join an Elvis cult"). Ray has a proven talent for everyday dramas of family life, and her latest is as toothsome as its predecessors. 7-city author tour. (May) Forecast: A pleasantly demure jacket and an appendix of cake recipes make this an appealing package for fans of cozy domestic fiction. Ray's sales may be leveling off since her big hit with Julie and Romeo, but this should do solid numbers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
Ruth loves to bake cakes. When she is alone, she dreams up variations on recipes. When she meditates, she imagines herself in the warm, comforting center of a gigantic bundt cake. If there is a crisis, she bakes a cake; if there is a reason to celebrate, she bakes a cake. Ruth sees it as an outward manifestation of an inner need to nurture her family--which is a good thing, because all of a sudden that family is rapidly expanding. First, her mother moves in after robbers kick in her front door in broad daylight. Then Ruth's father, a lounge singer, who she's seen only occasionally throughout her life, shatters both wrists and, having nowhere else to go, moves in, too. Her mother and father just happen to hate each other with a deep and poisonous emotion reserved only for life-long enemies. Oh, yes indeed! Add to this mix two teenagers, a gainfully employed husband who is suddenly without a job, and a physical therapist with the instincts of a Cheryl Richardson and you've got a delightful and amusing concoction that comes with its own delicious icing. One of Jeanne Ray's specialties is giving us believable, totally likable characters, engaged in the large and small dramas and amusements of life.Eat Cakeis whimsical, warm, and satisfying.Eat Cakeis Jeanne Ray at her best. Pull up a chair and eat cake!
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