100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen
Posted by Krystal Larson at 6:33 PM Sunday, August 7, 2016
Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.
There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.
Um, no. Never going to happen.
But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.
Molly has to be one of the most selfish characters that I have ever read about. I understand depression and how it is important to talk about it and seek help, but I wasn't entirely sure she was even depressed (I literally made brain issues my life's work in college and med school). The book mentions her dad dying when she was three and having a problem once with swimming, but otherwise the book didn't get to the why or how she became depressed. She didn't acknowledge that others had problems and worse things happen to them and she was selfish in her friendships. She didn't want Alex, a boy she worked with and turned down, to date her sister, but she didn't want to go out with him.
Her mom was sweet. She tried to connect with her daughter by making her happier with cake. Apparently the day her dad died Molly kept wanting cake (it was her birthday) and didn't really get one. Molly spends a large part of the book trying to save her job/work place. I thought that was rather sweet. Alex's character was remarkably patient. V, Molly's sister, was ridiculously patient with her sister. She actually worried more about her sister than herself and she's only 15. That's a lot to put on a young child. The relationship between Molly and her therapist was entirely unprofessional and I did not like that Molly didn't report the interactions. I liked the cake theme, I liked Molly's friends and family, but her own character annoyed me too much to get super into the book.
2 1/2 Stars
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