Ann Pearlman’s irresistible novel provides the perfect ingredients for a fun and touching read about a group of women who gather each year to share a journey of friendship, hope, heartbreak—and recipes.
Every year at Christmastime, Marnie and her closest girlfriends mark their calendars for the cookie exchange. Everyone has to bring a batch of homemade cookies and a bottle of wine, but this year, it’s their stories that are especially important—the passion and hopefulness of new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, the stress of financial troubles. On this evening, at least, the sisterly love they have for one another rises above it all. Celebrating courage and joy in spite of hard times and honoring the importance of women’s friendships as well as the embracing bonds of community, Ann Pearlman’s delightful novel speaks to us all.
Memoirist Pearlman (Infidelity) tries her hand at fiction in this uneven tale of female bonding. Each December, a dozen Ann Arbor, Mich., women gather with 13 dozen cookies (one for each "cookie bitch" plus one to donate to charity), and while group members come and go, there is one constant: cookies are exchanged and sisterhood is celebrated. This year, Marnie's hosting the shindig, and she muses about other club members and their problems from domestic issues to the effects of the recession. Although a few of the club's members are believable enough, none receives enough narrative attention to leave a lasting impression. Though the idea of celebrating these bonds of friendship through dessert is admirable, the execution is lacking.