Midnight Sweets

Bette Pesetsky, Author Atheneum Books $17.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-689-12020-6
Pesetsky is a distinctive voice in American fiction: her characters are always eccentric, just this side of bizarre (as in Digs and Stories from a Savage People ), yet she makes us believe in and care about them. Theodora Waite, the protagonist of this novel, is the founder of a franchised line of high-quality cookies, made from recipes that she creates with the dedication and sensibility of an artist. Theo names her cookies after significant events or people in her life; all of her cookies represent an attempt to be loved and needed. The once-divorced mother of five children, Theo is on the verge of a breakup with her second husband when the story begins. Her fear of being abandoned once again causes strange physical symptoms and spurs Theo to remember the other occasions in her past when she was betrayed by loved ones: her mother's death, her father's disappearance, etc. A complex character who reveals the sad details of her life in a clipped, offhand manner, Theo speaks in an ironic, oddly detached voice, because she is protecting herself from her emotions. It's no coincidence that the year she began her search for the perfect cookie was also the one in which she became a thief, or that baking is the only time she feels ``real love, excitement, adventure.'' Written in short episodic takes, with scenes intercut in cinematic flashes and the chronology deliberately obscured, the novel requires the reader's strict attention, but it rewards with an intriguing, unforgettable story. (November)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 208 pages - 978-0-8041-0533-0
Library Binding - 353 pages - 978-0-89621-900-7
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