I read a digital edition of Cake that I received for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Erid Press Inc.
Originally published: May 22nd, 2019
Pages: 263 (paperback)
Blurb by the publisher:
Would you give to someone who desperately needed it, that which you could live without?
Keely is the epitome of a self-made woman, her ability to make the right choices her superpower. She doesn’t believe in looking back and has the drive, ambition, and financial means to create the exact life she wants to live–regardless of what her kids and her husband, Andrew, want or need. Michelle lives in stark contrast to Keely’s life. She believes she was doomed from the start with a heartbreaking, poverty-stricken childhood. A string of bad choices in adulthood only intensifies her lack of faith in herself. With her daughter safely away at college, she is left alone with her abusive husband, Ray. As the days drag on, she struggles to find a reason to continue. Until she meets Andrew.
The two women’s worlds eventually collide, courtesy of their daughters, and both are forced to contemplate a time-worn question: is the comfort of a familiar self-constructed prison safer than the risk of trying to live a life of true freedom and potentially failing?
Cake asks how much the world has really changed for women–and for which women–by evaluating the progress of modern feminism. This novel examines privilege, the haves and have-nots, the ideals we choose to embrace, and the facts we forcefully decide to not see. This story entices the reader to contemplate whether our material and emotional conditions arise from childhood environments, personal choice, systemic inequality, or a combination of them all.
I was drawn to Cake because of the absolutely beautiful cover. Stunning!
Then I read the synopsis of the story, and it had every ingredient from the looks of it, to serve an emotional and powerful piece of story. And that’s exactly what it did.
We follow two women who live incredibly different lives but are both constricted because of the daily abuse they experience.
Michelle has a mentally and physically abusive husband. Keeley is putting herself under the amount of unhealthy pressure to live the perfect life and the perfect look that she herself inflicts pain on herself and her family.
It is two very different stories of pain, love and mental health, but both are equally as powerful and important.
I loved reading about how these two people, and those who were closest to them, lives intertwined throughout the story. I was a bit worried when more and more characters were introduced with their own chapters and perspective, that it would get confusing and overwhelming. But because all the stories are as tightly connected as they are, it just added depth to the story and made it even more powerful.
I got very invested in the two main characters. Michelle as the one I wanted to hold, rescue and comfort. Keeley as the one I wanted to shake and talk sense into. Keeley to me started out as a character I just disliked so much, but when we started to reach the ending of the book, I definitely felt a whole lot more sympathy towards her and her situation.
I think Cake is a beautifully written story and a very important one. It shines the light on different kind of abuse that is everyday life for so many women AND men. It’s a good addition to the mental health issues that can go too far, and a reminder to be kind and not judge people too quickly.
We really have no idea what goes on in other people’s lives when they are behind closed doors, or alone with their own thoughts. And I thought Nicole Brooks did an amazing job of telling a story that reminds us of that fact.
I thought the whole story wrapped up incredibly quick at the end and I kind of wish that we’d gotten to know a little bit more of the story from between the big climax and the wrap up at the end of it all. But other than that, I thought it was a brilliant book with an incredibly important message.
I felt for these characters, but even more so, it made me emotional and heartbroken for the people out there who deal with abuse on a regular basis in their real lives.
Click on the Reedsy Discovery logo below to get to know more, maybe get your own copy, and let me know what you think of it💛