7761269Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

This Cake Is for the Party is a collection of ten short stories all tied together by the theme of sharing food. This is not a set of fantastical whimsy but more of an insight to common everyday items which often hold the most significance and life changing attributes. The stories are about appreciating the subtleties that small things present to us. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll surely miss them and ultimately miss out.

My favorite story of the set is Paul Farenbacher’s “Yard Sale”. Meredith is at the scene of the yard sale of whom else, but Paul Farenbacher who is recently deceased. We read the story of how each member of his family is dealing with his passing. We also gain insight into the fact that sometimes the people closest to you often take you for granted and sometimes it’s a relative stranger that gets you the most. We follow Meredith’s thoughts about Paul and how much he helped her and gave her strength to succeed, but sadly his son never seemed to get it. It was something that just touched me and really made me feel for everyone involved.

My least favorite story would have to be “Prognosis” in which a letter is being written from a wife to her mother-in-law. I understand the sentiment and misunderstanding of the wife, but it was so vague and lacked so much detail. I wanted to know so much more about what had gotten them both to that point and I finished this story feeling so unfulfilled which sadly seems to be a theme for this author.

I really wanted to like This Cake Is for the Party, but I just couldn’t get into the style of Sarah Selecky. She flips between using and not using quotations for dialogue. I didn’t get used to the lack of them until about the second story and then she switched again. It was quite disconcerting. I also felt like Selecky needed to pick a story and stick with it. The whole time I was wondering if she just enjoyed leaving the reader hanging or perhaps she simply didn’t have an ending and that’s where her thoughts left us. All I could picture was the author behind the keyboard laughing maniacally each time she reached some sort of climax and then switched stories completely.

I did love the raw emotion behind each tale. The simple bluntness was refreshing and really made me feel for each character. I am truly at a crossroads as to whether or not I would read anything else by Selecky.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.