Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

     I just finished this one, and I am torn on what to say about it. The main character, Angel, is a baker who runs her own business from her apartment in Kigali, Rwanda. Living in an ex-pat community allows her to interact with people from a variety of countries and cultures as they come to order cakes for their celebrations. Through these encounters she becomes a sympathetic ear and a voice of guidance to others' troubles.
     The concept of this book was very interesting. A lot of serious issues, such as genocide and AIDS, were presented through the lives of her customers. The stories of survival were hopeful, and I felt like I got a taste for what people went through in Rwanda without the graphic intensity of other things that I have read. I really enjoyed Angel. Her reactions to things often had me laughing.
     However, the pace of this book was beyond slow.The conversations contained so much meaningless filler at times. The descriptions of having tea or decorating the cakes began to bore me to tears after a while.  I also had a hard time buying that so many people, often complete strangers to Angel, would easily vent their personal problems in such detail.
     There wasn't really a solid plot to this book. It was more like multiple small stories happening at once, sometimes connecting and sometimes not. Keeping the characters straight wasn't always easy.
So how do I rate this book? Some things about it were very good, and I believe that readers who are comfortable with the slow pace may really enjoy it. It dragged too much for my own taste though. I have to say 3/5-good.

1 comment:

TheBookGirl said...

Very fair review Christine. I understand how a book can be good, but if it drags on and you find your mind wandering, it can be frustrating.