I loved this one.
Angel reminds me a bit of Mma Ramotswe in Botswana. Between cupcakes, cardamom, condoms and other crises, she stays wise and caring. But she also learns a lot: about her neighbours in the compound, about Rwanda and its sad history, and about her own family and of course, herself.
Angel is a perfect example of what “a somebody” should be like who lives in a foreign country: curious but polite, inquisitive but sensitive. It is fascinating to be allowed a peek into this place and time. It actually reminded me of The Reader – again a book that touches on how a nation deals with its collective guilt and shame after a terrible atrocity. Of course, an issue with which South Africans still struggle (even if they don’t want to admit it).
But the book is not heavy or preachy – it is sad and funny and full of hope and positivity about Africa and its people and its problems. It focuses on the small actions of one woman and how it makes a difference – and after all, isn’t that the only way to make a difference? One bit at a time, changing “Good Enough” into “Perfect”? And celebrating, even amidst death and disease and other darkness, by decorating cakes with passion and riotous colours.
And the cupcakes she serves at each meeting with a client, forced me to make some. They got rave reviews, despite the fact that I didn’t really stick with the recipe (some ingredients were not spot on, and then there is my well-known abhorrence of correct measuring and sifting…).