The week before you go on vacation always seems to be like regular life, just intensified. Less sleep, more work, less ease, more stress… all just to take a few days off. This week was no different. I was about to pack up the boy and head out to the heartland for a week long visit of rest, cooking out, sleeping in, game nights and sun-kissed skin. I needed an easy book this week, the week before my officially easy week. WORLD OF PIES by Karen Stolz fit the bill perfectly.

This slim collection of stories centers around Roxanne Milner a young girl growing up in small town Annette, Texas in the early 1960s. Each chapter focuses on a time in Roxanne’s life during the critical ages of 12 – 30 something when she’s coming of age and coming into her own. Stolz does a good job creating a picture of Roxanne, her evolving best friendships, awkward first loves and losses all the way into marriage and a family of her own. The town of Annette is charming and a character of its own in the story, with mainstays such as Carl’s Corsets (Roxanne’s father’s lingerie shop and source of embarrassment for her) and Doreen’s (the best place for a burger and malt) which provide the reader a great sense of the community in which Roxanne grew up.

While WORLD OF PIES hearkens back to a seemingly simpler time, Stolz doesn’t shy away from weightier subjects (racism, Vietnam) that are sprinkled throughout the book in a way that remind us where we came from and bring more depth–without overpowering the story–to what could just be retro summer chick lit. But there is a fair amount of chick in this lit and that’s what makes it a perfect summer read. Desserts play a prominent role in WORLD OF PIES, shockingly though, pies are the least mentioned! That was my only complaint with the book. With a title like WORLD OF PIES, I expected them to have more of a feature role. Stolz makes up for this by providing the character’s recipes at the end of the book. A sweet additional treat to an already delightful book.

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 176
Genre: Fiction