REVIEW: Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake by Heidi Lynn Staples (reviewed by Patrick Trotti)

Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake
by Heidi Lynn Staples
Caketrain Press
http://www.caketrain.org

Caketrain’s newest offering, Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake by Heidi Lynn Staples, is a mouthful—a fantastic experiment merging fiction with art. Designed as more of a scrapbook, the personal mood created is palpable. Staples creates a calming and often whimsical effect reminiscent of the smartest children stories, with a punch of darkness.

For all its charm, the book, at its core, is a touching memoir, an emotionally rich, and deeply layered look into a young woman’s life. But Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake also is a manifesto, an exhilaratingly fresh take on the often-stale, overindulgent memoir genre. The substantive effect is in the repetition of the title words, creating an intricately coded world of words and images that forces the reader not only to follow along in silent amazement, but also feel confident in being blindly led down an intellectual rabbit hole.

While the narrative structure is rather linear for the most part, the breaking up of sections and an almost-minimalist like design attitude concerning a brevity of content on each page gives one the opportunity to pause and collect oneself, recharging for the next section of text.

Staples tackles her dark childhood with a fantastic imagination alongside brutal honesty. The balance is rendered more than adeptly and is powerful and mesmerizing, bordering on tear inducing. She creates a world that is at times wholly fictional, and almost magical in its inventiveness while still managing to be emotionally revelatory.

A moving passage, early on in the book, hints at future splendor to come.

My mother says he sat down beside her hospital take care fake bear torque cake. He took her hand. A young man with two small children to raise. He was take care fake bear torque caking. He was scared. He was alone. He was a pilot. He take care fake bear torque caked to her that he’d had countless take care fake bear torque cakes with countless take care fake bear torques in cities all over the take care fake bear torque cake.

The accompanying illustration, on the previous page, adds to the intensity with its childish quality that leads to a brutal honesty that’s undeniable in its simplicity.

Based on the innovative language and quirky, forward-thinking assemblage of this offering, it is definitely worth going back to explore the author’s earlier efforts (Staples has also authored a book of poetry and two fiction titles). And, of course, it’s another great offering by Caketrain, fitting of their impressive track record for producing intellectually engaging, beautifully designed books. So take care when reading this book, and look out for the bear.—Patrick Trotti

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