Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray is a bitter-sweet story about relationships, choices, and decisions. Poignant and funny in equal measure, it is a memorable story of an ordinary family facing challenging times, and how they overcome these adversities. Ray brings to light the struggle between love and annoyance in parent-child relationships.
Ruth Hopson lives in Minneapolis with Sam, her husband (a hospital administrator), her daughter Camille (a surly teenager), and Hollis, her mother, who has moved in to be with them over a year ago. Her son Wyatt is in college. She bakes the most extraordinary cakes, and there’s always a cake in the kitchen! The family is in for a rude shock when their regular lives are disrupted by unexpected challenges. Sam loses his job, and Guy, Ruth’s father, who has been estranged from his family since Ruth was two years old, calls out of the blue. He has met with an accident and needs to move in with Ruth’s family until he can fully recover.
Ruth’s troubles are magnified when Sam, instead of searching for a job, wishes to nourish his lifelong dream of rebuilding yachts, and her parents who have hated each other for as long as she has known them, are now stuck under the same roof. Her teen daughter’s rebellious behaviour adds to her woes.
Faced with all this, Ruth finds refuge in her childhood passion–baking cakes.
Eat Cake is a family drama, and despite the troubling times the family is facing, it is not a gut-wrenching read. Rather, Ray’s writing style makes it a breezy and optimistic read.
The characters are flawed and easy to relate to. Ray has drawn attention to their traits, flaws, wit, strength, and transformation in a free-flowing manner. The familial ties are depicted honestly, highlighting the various complexities in the web of relationships.
Ruth’s situation and emotional challenges as a supporting wife, caring mother, and daughter are complex and relatable. Though initially, she seems to be a pushover, over the length of the novel, she finds her strength and comes through. I really liked Guy and Hollis.
Ruth’s relationship with each family member is so beautiful and relatable. There’s a particular part where Camille and Ruth share a sweet moment, and my heart went all mushy-mushy. The sulky teen’s journey is really beautiful and heart-warming.
Oh, and did I forget to mention the cakes? Yes, I was drooling over the various cakes described in this book–Almond Apricot Pound Cake with Amaretto, Black Espresso Cake, Coconut Buttercream, Carrot Cake, and so on… Thankfully, the author has mentioned all the recipes at the end of the book. I tried a couple of them, and they were absolutely delightful! And those interruptions prevented me from finishing this book sooner. Not that I am complaining!
Eat Cake is fluffy, sweet, and delectable, just as cakes should be!
Do I recommend this?
Wordsopedia Rating 4/5
|Title: Eat Cake||Author: Jeanne Ray|
|Publisher: Berkley Books||Publication date: May 27th, 2003|
|Genre: Fiction–Women’s Fiction||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9780451211972||No. of Pages: 272|
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About the author
The author of three previous novels, Jeanne Ray works as a registered nurse at the Frist Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee. She is married and has two daughters. Together, she and her husband have ten grandchildren.