Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sweets through the Bittersweet

Yesterday my review of Kate Moses' Cakewalk went up at The Millions. I hope you'll read the review and the book, a memoir of Kate's childhood and her difficult relationship with her parents. At the end of each chapter she includes a recipe, from a sweet featured in the chapter. Though the recipes are a nice addition (and delicious, I might add - I made her peanut butter cookies) what really rings solid and true about this book is Moses' struggle to come to terms with her parents' marriage and her mother in particular.

I know I have always expected my family to be loving - and I'm very lucky that most of my relatives are supportive. However over the last year I've had to accept that simply because I share DNA with someone doesn't mean they will be a positive, supportive presence in my life. After years of emotional abuse, I've just stepped away. I'm open to the idea that things could change, but I don't expect them to.

Moses' book made me realize that the people who truly love us love us for who we are, flaws and all. Those are the people we want to keep around - they want to see us succeed, see us happy, see us live in the city we love, make a life with the person of our choosing, and encourage us towards fulfillment. This message seems like it should be commonplace, but in looking back at my life I have allowed myself to spend too much time with hurtful, negative people who are intent on tearing me down and seeing me fail. I'm done with those people, and I'm ready to appreciate those in my life who make me feel good about who I am - or who I'll become.

So pick up a copy of Kate's book. She's a fantastic writer - you may have heard of her last book, Wintering, about Sylvia Plath's last weeks. Read a few chapters, bake a cake for that person who loves you for who you are - there are plenty of recipes to choose from.

1 comment:

Rutila said...

Have you read Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You? Within the first ten pages the narrator muses: "You marry to have an ally against your family." I knew I was going to love it after that line.