Review: Birthday Pie by Arthur Wooten

Title: Birthday Pie

Author: Arthur Wooten

Published: iUniverse  April 2011

Synopsis: When Lex Martindale, a New York City writer, goes home to celebrate his birthday and say goodbye to his dying father, he struggles with whether or not to share with his eccentric Southern family news of his own life-threatening situation. As we travel through seventy years of the Martindales’ rich and colorful history, unearthing forbidden loves, shattered hopes and tenacious dreams, we realize that this reunion is a volatile turning point in all of their lives. But as anger, resentments and jealousies erupt to the surface, it’s their laughter and irreverent sense of humor that prevails allowing for a quiet healing in this bittersweet, moving portrait, of the all-American family.

Status: Read from August 22 to 23, 2011 {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Birthday Pie is both hilarious and poignant as it explores the dynamics of the dysfunctional Martindale family. Their patriarch is dying and the family is gathering to say their goodbyes. The reunion raises old slights, stunted dreams and buried secrets but also reminds them of the laughter and love that binds them.
I was quickly absorbed into the fabric of this story. From the sharp, witty dialogue to the genuine emotion, Birthday Pie is wonderfully told. Wooten skilfully combines humour and drama and I found myself alternately giggling and near tears.
First produced as a play, the bones are still evident in Birthday Pie’s larger than life characters. The idiosyncratic cast are saved from becoming caricatures because of the depth Wooten injects them with. Beneath the veneer of eccentricity are individuals with genuine personality. Each member of the family is vividly brought to life through a patchwork of memories that informs the person they have become. Their relationship with each other reveals that the truth of these characters lies somewhere in the middle. The interaction between such strong personalities is naturally contentious but despite the frustrated banter and facade of ambivalence, there is a genuine sense of love and affection between them.

A heartwarming story despite the tragedy that is waiting to unfold, Birthday Pie is a wonderfully entertaining read and I am happy to recommend it.


About the Author

Arthur Wooten is the author of the critically acclaimed novels On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail. He’s also written for television, theatre and film.

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads


Available to Purchase

@ Amazon (Kindle and Print)

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 08:53:54

    Great review as usual, Shelley Rae. This is a book that I would never have seen (which is a shame, because it looks great, and that cover is lovely)–it’s amazing what the Kindle is doing for the bookosphere!



    • Arthur
      Aug 30, 2011 @ 04:50:44

      Stephanie – Thank you for you kind words regarding the cover (created by my friend Bud Santora) and huge thanks again to Shelly Rae for her review and spreading the good word about Birthday Pie. All the best – Arthur Wooten



  2. cherrymischievous
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 17:35:45

    Reading from your review, this book sounds like a poignant read with a masterful story telling quality… Thank you for sharing your thoughts!



  3. Trackback: Review: Leftovers by Arthur Wooten « book'd out

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