Wooten, Arthur. “Birthday Pie: A Novel”,iUniverse,2011.
Looking at Relationships
I first became aware of Arthur Wooten through his books “On Eating Fruit” and “Fruit Cocktail” and he is a terrific story teller. I often wondered why I had not seen anything new from in a while and to my surprise, I received an email about his new book, “Birthday Pie”. I am glad to say that he continues being a terrific storyteller. Not only does he tell a good story but he creates unforgettable characters.
Lex Martindale is a writer in New York City who travels to his family home for two reasons—his birthday and to say goodbye to his father who is dying. He is carrying a secret about himself that he cannot decide whether to share it with his family. We learn about the history of Lex’s family and that there were love stories and hopes that were never met. This reunion could change everything and as the family comes together a lot of anger and hard feelings come to the fore. But there is also healing so while they are changed, it is for the better. A sense of family is recreated and anger turns to love.
What I love about Arthur Wooten is his sense of humor. He has the ability to make situations comic that might otherwise be something entirely different. His characters are very real, so much so that I felt as if I knew them and if I looked up from the book I would see them. Wooten has the ability to both touch us and make us laugh at the same time and this is perhaps his greatest gift. It is hard to stop reading once you begin and then when you are finished you still want more. Not many writers are able to do that.
Something else that Wooten does is to take issues that are close to us—in this case relationships and family—and then write about them in a way that is very true to life.
I am so glad that Wooten is back and writing. He dares to say what so many of us think but dare not utter and the way he says it is a real treat.