The Icing on the Cupcake
Fact: I will read just about anything that has to do with cupcakes. I can only guess that the publisher of Jennifer Ross’s The Icing on the Cupcake assumed there were others like me and decided to cash in on the popularity of cupcakes. It’s the only reason I can imagine a book with no character depth and such poor writing made it to the shelves.
When Ansley Waller’s fiancé jilts her for being a bitch (something she deserved), she decides to escape Dallas and all of its societal expectations to go to new York City and stay with the grandmother she never met. Almost immediately on a whim, she decides to open her own bakery and sell cupcakes—a cupcakerie, if you will. Among the trials of starting her own business, Ansley must contend with awful mean New Yorkers, men who only want sex, and someone who is trying to sabotage her efforts. Meanwhile, her grandmother is having tax issues from her late husband’s estate, and going back through her files and papers also unearths the reason she left her husband and daughter, Ansley’s mother, so many years ago.
The writing was so simplistic and unsophisticated, I almost felt insulted reading it. There was no depth or complexity to the story whatsoever, and some characters were reduced to stereotypes that were borderline offensive. . It was all sweet southern blondes (except when Ansley was being obnoxious) and mean reserved New Yorkers. There was absolutely no variation. Grouping attitudes and lifestyles is one thing, but the characters started making generalizations about morals and religion, that’s when it started to bug me.
By the end, the plot entered a bizarre alternate universe where attempted murder is a sign of commitment (the romantic kind) and violent possessiveness is normal. The characters acted so ridiculous, I’m pretty sure my jaw actually dropped while reading. I kept waiting for some semblance of sanity to return, to no avail.
Ansley had moments of likability punctuated by extreme bitchiness. Part of her “development” was supposed to be her change into a decent person, but there wasn’t any evolution to speak of—just a pendulum swinging back and forth between two extremes. There was zero chemistry between her and the man she was attracted to, which made scenes where they kissed super awkward. The book was generally pretty tame, which made a few more graphic mentions seem out of place.
Once nice thing about the book were the details about baking. Though it occasionally came across as a bit condescending, there were some great tips and recipes that I’m eager to try.
Unfortunately, that was the only redeeming factor. I would have rather just eaten one of Ansley’s cupcakes than read about her life. It would have been more enjoyable, and probably better for me.