Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The girl who chased the moon by Sarah Addison Allen (4/5 stars).

After chapter five, I decided on a white chocolate macadamia chiffon cake to enjoy while reading this lovely book by Sarah Addison Allen and the book was as deliriously sweet as the cake I'm eating.

Title: The girl who chased the moon
Author: Allen, Sarah Addison
Publisher: Bantam
Date Published: 2011 February 28
Chick-lit/Magic Realism

Paperback: 304 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars

Julia Winterson started baking when she was sixteen and she hasn’t stopped baking since. Her cakes smell of hope, her hope that by leaving a trail of silver sparkles made of butter and sugar it will lead someone she has lost to her. She never thought that she’ll be back in Mullaby but when her father passed away, she decided to take over J’s Barbeque, at least for until two years to pay off her father’s debt and earn enough to start her own bakery and not a day longer but with only six months left before she leaves for good, she’s no longer sure of what she wants.

Emily Benedict never knew she had a grandfather, until she received a phone call from him when her mother, Dulcie, passed away. Her mother never told her about Mullaby, about a lot of things, but she has decided to stay and she wants to know more about Dulcie as a young woman. As she searches for pieces of her mother’s story she discovers that the mother she knew as perfect was once cruel and selfish.

This is the first book of Sarah Addison Allen that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it, her characters are all so endearing you’ll want them to have their happy endings. I like how Allen gives us a whiff of magic realism here and there like rainbow sprinkles on a cupcake - Emily’s giant grandpa Vance, the wallpaper in her mother’s childhood room that changes with the occupant’s mood, silver sparkle cake trails and the “Mullaby lights”. Mullaby, Northern Carolina is a chockfull of character in itself too, the old Southern homes, the thick barbeque smells, the pine trees, and the lake, a place I'd love to spend my summer, just reading books and eating barbeque!

There are two things I didn’t like about the book, one is that the ending was so abrupt it felt like a few pages short and two, the “Mullaby lights” revelation was a little anticlimactic and too much like a scene from Twilight, but still, I had a very lovely afternoon reading it. My heart ached with that phone call to Sawyer (Julia's love interest, he was the jock and she was the pink-haired goth girl in high school) and when Julia finally confronted Beverly (her gold digger stepmother), learning why her father had all that debt. I laughed every time Stella (Julia's landlady, was popular back in high school) would say “do as I say, not as I do!”, was tickled pink when Sawyer confronted Julia about baking because of him and loved all of Grandpa Vance’s recollection of his wife, Lily.

Perhaps what I like most about how Allen tells the bittersweet stories of her characters is how my initial impression of them has changed so much by the end of the story, take for example, Stella. I initially thought of her as a bitter woman who might do something to stop Julia from getting back together with Sawyer but now I think of her as funny, loyal, and I like that she's living in the moment after leaving her husband.

My Verdict:
It’s a light read, whimsical, and delicious! I'd definitely recommend it for a girl friend who needs cheering up!