Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes by David S Atkinson

Genre:  Adult Coming of Age

Description (taken from David S Atkinson's website):
Don’t you hate it when you may (or may not) be trapped endlessly in a Village Inn with your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, coincidentally your ex-best friend? That’s the kind of day Cassandra is having. In a homogenized world that is left mostly empty so everyone can feel comfortable, The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes explores the fictions we tell ourselves, and the fictions we tell ourselves about the fictions we tell ourselves.

Cassandra has agreed to meet her ex-boyfriend and ex-best-friend at a Village Inn for what she hopes will be the most momentous apology for ruining her life.  But when the real reason comes out, Cassandra's life goes from crap to crappier as she tries to walk out on them and finds she's stuck at the Village Inn.  When all three of them realize they're stuck and have to spend a lot of time in each other's company, it seems like the weirdest discussions will occur instead of working out the issues they face.

Cassandra has her surrounding strangers' stories figured out perfectly.  Her waitress is one who will never enjoy the intimate touch of another while the manager has a bizarre fear of pancake houses.  And of course, the discussions involving the perfect pancake and the best breakfast food helps keep them all talking and civil.  But with all this time on her hands, Cassandra finds herself still dealing the problem at hand, but she doesn't know if she can come up with a solution that will appease everyone.  And even if she does, will it be worthwhile if none of them can get out of Village Inn?

I must admit that this isn't my normal genre, but it draws funny parables to issues people face every day.  And I see the fictional fantasies that Cassandra draws out for the strangers she sees is something everyone tends to do (I love guessing some random stranger's life story based on what I see of them).  But I think the real thing this story gets at is watching someone's decision-making skills in action when faced with a tough decision.  We all get distracted easily and no one wants to choose one bad option over another one.  I'm definitely one of those people who avoids making a decision on difficult issues (like moving, dating, love, forgiveness, etc).  But as this book points out, your life will never move on until a decision is made, and not everyone's going to accept the choices you make.  It's probably why I picked the genre adult coming-of-age because adults might not be physically still growing up but we do grow from the decisions we make.

This is definitely a story where reading a chapter at a time and mulling it over is the best approach.  Because you've definitely got some crazy thinking and psycho-babble coming from a bored girl trying to deal with life.  But in the end, it's still a fun read that'll make you think about your own life situation.

Thanks goes to David S Atkinson for providing me a review copy.

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