Tuesday, August 16

Book review: Birthday Pie by Arthur Wooten

A book, which is enjoyable at the time of reading, might be easily set aside when the last paragraph is absorbed. Others contain characters easy to envision on stage, big or small, live or taped, but definitely worthy of life outside the pages. The reader finds himself, long after the book has been closed, chuckling over an incident, comment or mannerism found within the story.

Such is the case with Birthday Pie, the third novel by Arthur Wooten.

Introducing the dysfunctional Martindale family from Ragland, N.C., Wooten brings to light all the dark secrets each family member attempts to keep hidden. Arriving from all points of the United States to patriarch Bert's death bed, the siblings and grandmother face the stark realities of their lives.

Alexi Lee, aka Lex, a New York City writer, is the favorite of matriarch Trudy Lee. With his own secrets to hide, Lex endures the animosity of his siblings created by the extra attention from their mother. Trudy's desperate determination to bake a pecan pie for her favorite's birthday sets the chaotic pace for the story.

As happens so often when reunited, the siblings revert back to their internal child, and flareups from rivalry and old resentment occur. Truths are told;, burdens are lifted; and relationships are altered with each recognizing that life is as you make it. Families are not perfect, but they are still family.

Arthur Wooten by Galaxais Productions
Capturing the messed-up tales of family members in their current lives, the author traces the history of each back to their point of origin. Interactions between the characters, including great grandmother Anastasia Battles and Mattie Lee, the youngest family member, prove vital to understanding the situations which shaped each of their lives.

Wooten's writing tone is conversational...as if gathered with your friends at a local favorite coffee shop listening to him describe the latest segment in his own family's dramatic saga.

Bottom Line: Arthur Wooten serves up a cast of savory characters remembered long after the last delicious crumb has been devoured from his latest treat...Birthday Pie.

Bio: Arthur Wooten is the author of the critically acclaimed novels On Picking Fruit and Fruit Coktail. He has also written for television, theater and film. Website: ArthurWooten.com

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in M magazine, and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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