BBAW 2010: Forgotten Treasure

Today’s prompt for Book Blogger Appreciation Week wants us to talk about a book that, for whatever reasons, fell through the cracks, but deserves all the promotion it can get. This is the one I was really looking forward to; I love seeing people get passionate about obscure books and spreading the love. I spent some time trying to decide which book to promote, but when I checked Fyrefly’s Book Blogger Search Engine (the most useful tool for a book blogger I know of) and found that my review was apparently the only review of this book found on the search engine, I knew that today I had to talk and rave about Katharine Weber’s True Confections.

I don’t want to rehash my review of True Confections–you can find it here, if you are so inclined. Instead, I’m going to briefly list the reasons why you should call your local library and ask them to put this baby on hold for you right now.

True Confections focuses on Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky trying to clear her name after another fire she may or may not have started. Alice is a pragmatic and passionate woman that considers the first day of her life the first day she went to work at Zip’s Candies, a regional candy maker whose founding family she married into. Alice holds forth on candy, family relationships, and her self-confessed devotion and passion for Zip’s Candies in what is supposedly the affidavit in a legal case. It’s also tons of fun.

It’s framed around candy. And not only is it framed around candy, you will learn more than you ever thought possible about the candy industry, from small regional candy makers to the national candy expos where candy makers show off their upcoming products. (And because you’ll want it immediately after, behold! Candy Blog!)

It makes unreliable narration work, even if you don’t think you like it. Alice, the fantastic narrator and main character, never outright lies to the audience- after all, this book is supposedly her affidavit in a legal case, although she goes way off topic. Her unreliability comes from how she presents other people and how she rationalizes the various facts that make up her life in order to put herself in the best light. And most importantly, there’s a resolution to all this unreliability.

One of its themes is the importance of calling a spade a spade. To quote Dumbledore, that eminent philosopher, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” While fear isn’t the issue here, Alice is devoted to calling things by their right and proper name, which almost forms the foundation of her beef with her ex-husband, Howard, who goes by Howdy, a nickname Alice refuses to call him, as she thinks it infantalizes him. This theme is very nicely woven into the whole novel, and it never clobbers you over the head.

Alice hates Roald Dahl. And aren’t you just a little curious about why?

In short, if any of this appeals to you, go pick up True Confections now. I loved it.

22 thoughts on “BBAW 2010: Forgotten Treasure

  1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate the attention and consideration, and specifically, the wonderful astuteness of your comments. The book did in fact get a number of fantastic print reviews. However, because True Confections was on sale at the very end of 2009 and some of those reviews ran at the end of December, I am concerned that it is not regarded as a 2010 book by those who are thinking about the books of 2010 right around now. It really is a 2010 book.

  2. Hates Roald Dahl? Why? Is it because he makes candy sound crazy sauce? Is it because people are constantly comparing her to Willy Wonka? Because that would drive me crazy.

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