BB-Reader Review: "Black Cake"
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BB-Reader Review: "Black Cake"
Reader Review: "Black Cake"

by Anthony Conty (Parkville, MD): "Black Cake" by Charmaine Wilkerson tells the story of a deceased woman who leaves behind a cake for her estranged children. You do not understand why, but the book reveals its details methodically. Wilkerson has a story to tell from the past; however, that introduces a bevy of other characters, so keep up.
The dynamic between Byron and Benny is complex, with the man being famous and thriving and the woman dropping out of school and having a relationship with a woman. Byron does not understand his sister's aloofness, but we do. The back story with a swimmer connected to a murder intrigued me, but we did not get the connection for a while.
A big reveal/twist arrives early in the novel, but do not worry since the author will provide more characters whose tie-ins you need help identifying. A pattern of running away emerges, making you sad, but also wonder what it would be like if you could repeatedly go away and change your identity.
Stories of changed/multiple identities can be complex to follow without revealing too much. I liked the characters, so I went along, even though they solved 90 of their problems with more communication. I was frustrated by these people that I cared about.
I already have my favorites for the year, but I must give "Black Cake" the award for the most ambitious. The number of characters and twists could cause a casual reader to DNF. Stick with it, though. You will connect with the family, immigration, gender role, or mystery themes.

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