Saturday, May 06, 2006


Carrie Kabak's new book COVER THE BUTTER is a fun read. It's clearly a girl's book and not for those readers who must have suspense, murder, and mayhem on half the pages. I believe it is Kabak's first novel. She was raised in England and then came to the states; she lives in Kansas City today. The book begins in Kate Cadogan's midlife, but quickly jumps back in time to Kate's life in England at age 14. The angst of adolescence is no different for English girls in Catholic Schools than here in St. Louis where many of us wore starched, pleated uniforms and answered, "yes, s'ter, no s'ster" all day long. Kate is longing for the attention of the "to die for" cool boy who hangs out on the street. She wants to drink and party and live life with wild, wreckless abandon. But she is restrained by a mother (Biddy) and father who love their only daughter more than they love one another. Kate is not allowed to do anything that will mar her soul or give a moment's pleasure for which she will feel Catholic guilt afterward.

I love the title of the book which comes from the image of covering the butter after dinner. Kate's parents light up cigarettes at the table when they've finished eating, but first they cover the butter, so the smoke and ash do not harm the delicate flavor and purity of the butter. Kate is covered by the shield of their love for her. Despite the parents' best efforts, Kate finds ways to squeeze as much flavor out of her life as she can.

On the cover, and on Amazon, the reader is promised the story of a woman who discovers how to live life for herself and not to please those who control her throughout her life. I haven't finished the book, yet. Kate is only 21 in the chapter I closed last night. But I am rooting for her, eager for her to discover what she can do when she stops living life for her friends and parents' approval. I've been immersed in Sr. Fidelma mysteries for four months, which are set in seventh century Ireland--remarkable series of historical mysteries. Cover the Butter is not a mystery in the same sense, but I am turning the pages faster than I can read them to find out what Kate will do next.

*** Visit the St. Louis library. Kabak and Tremayne's books available now.

City library patrons may go here to hunt for these books: St. Louis City Library

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