Let 'Em Eat Cake

( 1 )

Overview

  When the heat in Brooklyn climbs to a hundred, there's only one thing worse than being a delivery man for HomeMade Cakes.  It's being a delivery woman for Homemade.  Because Anna, the feisty heroine of this earthy and irreverent novel, has to put up with things that her male co-workers can't imagine, from a boss who despises women to storekeepers who feel her up when they aren't trying to rip her off for the price of a carton of Chocos.
   As realized by Susan Jerden, Anna is a ...

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Let 'em Eat Cake

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Overview

  When the heat in Brooklyn climbs to a hundred, there's only one thing worse than being a delivery man for HomeMade Cakes.  It's being a delivery woman for Homemade.  Because Anna, the feisty heroine of this earthy and irreverent novel, has to put up with things that her male co-workers can't imagine, from a boss who despises women to storekeepers who feel her up when they aren't trying to rip her off for the price of a carton of Chocos.
   As realized by Susan Jerden, Anna is a true representative of blue-collar, no-glitz New York, a valiant single mother, whose attempts to keep her head above water—and her dignity intact—are both hilarious and uplifting. Let 'Em Eat Cake is a novel for anyone who has ever worked at a demeaning job and dreamed of dancing on the merchandise, a book as real as a corner bodega and as refreshing as an open hydrant  in the middle of a scolding summer.

Anna, a woman of our times, lives in New York City, where she has always lived--as the child of an abusive father, and now, as an abandoned wife and mother of two children. On a lark, she takes a job driving a delivery truck for Feelgood Cakes, each day wending her way through the inferno of New York and facing its sublime insanities with dignity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

  "Fresh, brimming with energy and earnestness and authenticity... Unusual and vivid."- Washington Post Book World

"Jerden's knack for description... makes the novel breathe with life.... From the first chapter, [her] words ring with realism and honesty, tumbling over themselves to confess dreams that aren't recognized and moments that tend to be forgotten."- San Francisco Chronicle

"Jerden flexes the taut muscles of her raw and compelling literary voice."- Entertainment Weekly

"Swashbuckling."- The New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's tempting to call Jedren's uncommon first novel a ``sympathetic'' portrait of a blue-collar working mother, but to do so would be a disservice to its narrator. Anna, a stubborn Brooklynite, doesn't require anyone's sympathy, and if her story at first seems outwardly mundane and banal-Anna's an unskilled laborer, separated from her husband and caring for two young sons-a closer look reveals a dynamic chronicle of everyday challenges. By day, Anna delivers bakery goods to neighborhood supermarkets while a trusted co-worker watches her kids. Her profession requires her to lift heavy packages and to collect payment in cash, so there's a constant threat of injury or robbery. She meets merchants who try to rip her off and even rape her, and her supervisors, who don't take kindly to a woman in a traditionally male domain, try to intimidate her into quitting. Yet a Bronx childhood and an abusive father have taught Anna tenacity; tough but never inhumanly so, she weathers emotional as well as physical pummeling. One questionable note sounds during the speedy wrap-up, as an entrepreneurial woman meets Anna and helps her land a white-collar job, but this story rings true all the way down to the heat rash that Anna gets from her ill-fitting men's uniform. Jedren has given readers a heroine-and a fiction debut-worthy of admiration. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The lower-middle-class or working-class New Yorker doesn't get written about too often. Jedren's first novel is about Italian American Anna, who lives in Washington Heights and works as a snack-cake delivery person; it depicts her life on the route and off. Her on-the-job experiences are not always pleasant, and neither are her not-so-pretty co-workers. Still, the story is honest and believable until Anna joins the white-collar world, a move that just doesn't have the ring of reality. The characters are sometimes amusing, and the author does get the often helpless feelings of the single mother right. Recommended for women's fiction collections.-Barbara Maslekoff, Ohioana Lib., Columbus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679768050
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/25/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Jedren, a former Teamster, drove and delivered snack cakes in New York City. Following that she attended the Columbia MFA Writing Program.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    Even the sex is dreary.

    I could barely drag my eyes through the pages of this dreary book. I was raised in a blue collar world and this is something quite different. At one point the main character, a woman, sits in the passenger side of a truck. Another delivery person reaches over and makes a crude grab at her. This is presented as a romantic moment. This is a relentlessly boring main character in the hands of a poor writer. It reads like a collection of workshop assignments. Go directly to Lamb's 'She's Come Undone' for a beautifully crafted novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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