Rated Reads

Baking Cakes in Kigali

by Gaile Parkin

Rated: Moderate

This beautiful African story, set in post-genocide Rwanda, is not only compellingly and simply told, but also touches on much of what makes us truly happy in life.

Angel is a Tanzanian living in Rwanda with her husband and the five grandchildren she’s raising. Her claim to fame in the town of Kigali is her extraordinary and unique cakes. The process of designing the perfect cake for her customers lets her into their lives — they share their stories. Through these stories we see in many people a remarkable ability to adapt and to survive, to change and grow and find goodness wherever they are. We also see great depravity and horror as those who managed to live through the genocide begin to put their lives and their country back together, with the help of people from many nations.

I loved so much about this book — I loved Angel’s listening ear and her desire to look at things truthfully. I loved how the plot revolved around her cakes, those scrumptious creations designed for so many different reasons and for so many different kinds of people. And the people! A cross section of humanity — U.N. workers, refugees, professors, volunteers, orphans, chauffeurs, stay-at-home moms and poor AIDS patients who are trying to gain skills to make a living. We meet so much of Africa and her people — as well as those from near and far who legitimately desire to help Rwanda come back to life. The educated and illiterate are living side by side — Hutus and Tutsis are choosing to look beyond their past to a larger-than-life future. I loved the depth of this charming story.

Rated: Moderate. The language in this book is mild in terms of expletives. But parts of the book deal with more adult topics like prostitution (never in an explicit way); the word “condom” is used repeatedly, as is the term “sex-worker.” There are no sexual scenes, just discussion of the act a couple of times. In addition, several different scenes involve discussion of the Rwandan genocide that are (unsurprisingly) pretty disturbing.

— Reviewed by Corinne Edwards

Corinne Edwards is always happiest when a book is in her hand. If her current read needs to be closed for a short time, either in her backpack while she leads her three rambunctious children on adventures, or on her nightstand while she sleeps, that's okay too. Her book thoughts and reviews land at her bookish blog, The Book Nest.

Comments are closed.

  • Baking Cakes in Kigali
  • by Gaile Parkin
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: