Most helpful positive review
Give Me FLAVOR & Hear Me ROAR!!
on May 12, 2007
True to her series' successful addictions, again Fluke provides readers with an anticipated invite into morning routines with Hannah's macho cat, Moishe, this time introducing the battle of the Crunchies.
This cat continues to do a reader capture, maybe a kidnap. His shenanigans could make a cat-a-phobic warm up to hair balls. If possible, Moishe has kicked up the flavor of his mystique in this Fudge cupcake venue. Wonder if he's ever heard Emerile bam around his TV stove-top? Loved the various executions Moishe devised for flavorless Crunchies.
"To be or not to be; that is the question ..."
-- Shall the choice be for Crunchies of grrreeeaat taste but bad rep?
-- Or shall it be nada taste with "Good-for-you" tag-of-approval?
I have the uneducated taste to ask, is there a question?
The Vet has advised Hannah to cajole Moishe to gobble up Senior Cat Food, with a force-feed-tag included if necessary. Throughout the novel I pray that Hannah wises up and gives Moishe his "burger" HIS way. (This was a ruff-n-tumble alley cat prior to Hannah taking him in; eating who knew what out of the sewers of life.)
Of course Hannah's morning ministrations wouldn't be complete without her unwelcome mother clanging into a busy daughter's life, a mother reviled with relish, so much so that whenever the comely cat sniffs The Mother's presence, even over telephone wires, Moishe hisses with ears back, tail twiching warning.
Dolores doesn't appear to be a Joan Crawford parading the "Mommie Dearest" mystique. The M.D. (Mother Dolores or Mommy Dearest a la Swensen) here is merely a nosey, critical, demanding, domineering, bad taste influence in Hannah's life, a woman who always refers to Hannah, tellingly, as "dear," and never hits a good time to step into Hannah's constant rush.
Fluke develops characters with a generous pen, with just enough savory spice and redemptive reprieve. It seems that Fluke dearly wants to paint Dolores as a hometown, modern day, sour-milk-mamma, destructive to a daughter's spirit shining gleefully off-beat to her own drummer. Yet, as I continue reading the Hannah Swensen series, I catch welcome flashes of redemption flickering through devious Dolores's seemingly thin veneer of character.
Myself being a 59 year-old-reader who will forever grieve the loss of a Mom, who grieves the loss of ongoing opportunities to show deserved appreciation and admiration to that treasured woman, I welcome any flash or flicker of Hannah's developing an expanded generosity toward Dolores's foibles.
Fluke continues to sensitively paint Hannah defending her valid youthful needs for independence and space, appealing to women who identify too well with the conflict of an ageing, single mother needing validation and compassion for a rapidly arriving life passage, a passage which can be antithetical to a young daughter stretching and strengthening a new backbone. That tricky relationship-demand is a worthy, vital one to feature in fiction.
All of us have irritating personality rough spots, and any mother is in a potent position to harm the psyche of a child. My Mom and I were human enough to have mild personality-clashes and need-dichotomies, but she was a woman who had earned admiration and respect. She was a Margie, not a Dolores. Gotta remember that as I continue reading this series. (I now have an Amazon Short available on the USA site, COAL & COCA-COLA, which celebrates my Margie, who loved fudge cupcakes, and developed a secret sweet roll recipe which became famous in her Malt Shop bakery.)
Returning to a well plotted novel with plenty of perky maternal ambiance, in this Fudge Cupcake w/Secret Ingredient story, the Mother's hoarding a secret! This twin pair of secret-plot-yarns shored my curiosity to an entertaining level, kept it there, and tucked the threads into a denouement tapestry to weave for.
Enjoyed the morning routine twist in this book when Hannah was dreading Dolores's voice on the phone and heard Andrea instead. Liked the fact that Dolores distanced herself a bit from her daughters in this book. Maybe Dolores was stepping out of a warn-out character, turning the tide of interest toward her instead of away? Might this be a good sign for those daughter readers who've lost Mom and continue feeling that loss? I hope so.
Also enjoyed the focus on Mike in this mystery, with Norman kept off page somewhere through most of the plot (though I honestly like both these men, almost equally). The draw of Mike's sex appeal was played well in this book, stimulating Hannah's bemoaned lack of sophistication into steaming up her cookie wagon windows, as she happily learned a little late in life about adolescent auto alignment. Fluke filled up the tank of readers' questions about to whom (when, why, and where) Hannah will give an exclusive commitment.
With coffee for blood, this cozy author percolates ongoing, unanswered questions. I won't say which ones were answered here and which ones were tabled for later treats. I'll just say I closed the book with hunger pangs satisfied, yet with an appetite for more in this series.
Linda G. Shelnutt