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Eat Cake Paperback – May 4, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451211979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451211972
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ruth, with a teenage daughter, a son in college, and her mother living with the family, finds her life complicated by her husband's sudden unemployment and news that her long-divorced father has been injured and needs a place to recover. Once again Ray, author of Julie and Romeo (2000) and Step-Ball-Change (2002), presents a heroine beset with sufficient problems to make her run screaming off the pages, but one also gifted with enough common sense and gumption to solve the problems she can, and cope with the ones she can't. Ruth's first step in solving anything is to bake a cake, and oh what cakes she bakes (recipes are included). As might be expected, the hidden talents of each family member emerge, surprising unions are forged, and relative success is achieved. And, yes, cakes are prominent in the solution. While it might be said that this is a predictable and undemanding book, it is also a comforting one, and perhaps signals a new genre that might be called "domestic fantasy." Danise Hoover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 116 customer reviews
An enjoyable humorous story!
The characters Jeanne Ray created in this novel are people that are intriguing and it is easy to relate to them and their life stories.
M. G. Sachs
What a great book, I read this in an afternoon and loved it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I discovered Ms. Ray before I started reading her daughter's books, Ms. Ann Patchett. I'm not sure how I found her, just something about the premise of Julie and Romeo struck a cord, so I read it and enjoyed it so much. Well, then I read her second novel and enjoyed it also, so I was thrilled when this showed up on my amazon recommendations. I curled up with this book and read it in one day, with very few interruptions, and I was so involved with the characters, that by the end of the book, I felt as if I knew them. This is a fun, hopeful read and had some lines in it that I quoted out loud to the family, much to their dismay, since I then had to explain who everyone was and what was going on.
Anyway, read this book when you need a warm, lovely diversion from your life. The main character sees herself in cakes to relieve stress, I used this author's book as my therapy. Thank you Ms. Ray.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Rieback on October 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ruth is having a bad day. Her estranged father Guy calls to announce that he broke both wrists, needs help caring for himself, and is moving in with her for a while. Her mother Hollis, who already lives with her and who detests Guy, announces her displeasure over it. Her husband Sam announces that he just lost his job. Her daughter Camille is a moody teenager who never announces much of anything. Ruth's family experiences a lot of turmoil as Hollis and Guy face off against each other, Sam starts thinking about a career change, and the financial concerns begin to mount. To attempt to cope with all this, Ruth does what she always does when under stress: she bakes cakes. For Ruth, cakes are her escape from the pressures of daily life. She even imagines being in the center of a huge warm bundt cake as a means of relaxing meditation. Can Ruth's cakes save the day in this crisis?

This may be a story of a family in crisis, but I wouldn't really call it a dysfunctional family. It is a family struggling to deal with the same pressures and problems that so many families do: aging parents, balky adolescents, unemployment, and midlife career crises. Jeanne Ray's novels are feel-good books full of warmth, humor, and wisdom. "Eat Cake" is no exception. In fact, as I read it I felt as warm and comfortable as if I were in the center of that fresh-from-the-oven bundt cake with Ruth. At the end of the book is a collection of recipes for cakes mentioned in the story. They include such delights as "Sweet potato bundt cake with rum-plumped raisins and a spiced sugar glaze" and "Almond apricot pound cake with amaretto." Read this delectable book, which can be devoured in a sitting or two, and then try your hand at one of the cake recipes. Bon appetit!

Eileen Rieback
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Alesi on June 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This sweet book is a delicious break from life. Sorry, the dessert metaphors just seem appropriate. Ruth is a member of the sandwich generation; her oldest son is away at college, but she still has a teenage daughter at home and her mother moves in after she is robbed in the middle of a bridge game in her own home. Her husband's company is bought out and he loses his job, and her estranged father has a terrible accident and no insurance and moves in, too. Ruth's way to escape is to use visual imagery; her picture of solitude and bliss is not a mountain retreat or a deserted beach, but a cake. Yes, Ruth visualizes herself surrounded by walls of cake and is comforted. And when the going gets tough, Ruth bakes. Cakes, of course. Every day. Sometimes in the middle of the night, when sleep just won't come. As the family dynamic changes, they all must learn to adapt and adjust, and eat cake. Recipes included. Warning: do not read this book while on a diet.
Jeanne Ray is one of my favorite authors, her books just touch the heart without being cloy or cutesy. Her characters are genuine and people you can care about, her stories are simple yet hit home. She still hasn't topped her first book, Julie and Romeo, which is on my top ten list of favorite books of all time, but this is a very enjoyable read. Her daughter is pretty talented, too - she's Ann Patchett of Bel Canto fame.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Jeanne Ray. My favorite is Step-Ball-Change but this is second. Don't read it if you're hungry or dieting. :-) Actually it is, as usual, a good story of marriage and family dynamics. I really enjoyed the grandparents and the teenager. Read ALL of Jeanne Ray's books. You won't be disappointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "siammuse" on August 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Take a middle aged housewife, a husband who just lost his job, a sarcastic grandma, an artsy piano playing grandpa, and a snotty know it all teenager......
Who by the way live under the same roof... And
What do you have?
All of the ingrediants for a delicious novel!
While the rest of the world copes by getting drunk or writing poetry...Ruth bakes cakes! And not just your run-of-the-mill cakes, but unbelievably moist, delectable cakes. Sweet potato cakes, expresso cakes, orange cake w/burnt orange frosting....
ohhhhhhhh yeeees!
Instead of blowing up...Ruth measures baking powder, sugar, flour, pure vanilla and beats the mixture to perfection.
In the meantime...the grandma and grandpa, who have been separated for years, argue continually. The teenage daughter is cranky as heck, and Ruth's husband is thinking about buying a sail-boat!
Well, you could say, it's a little tense around the house.
So, Ruth bakes.
When I want to go someplace, a quiet safe place, I go inside a cake, Ruth says.
"Eat Cake" has all the right stuff that add up to a moist, crumbless, lush, sweet dessert!
Ruth will share her cakes with many people in this book, and she will share her recipes with the reader in the end.
I still taste the sugar on my tongue!
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