After serious pursuits of literature at Northwestern (BSJ) and Ohio State (MFA), Shari Goldhagen discovered she had a knack for sifting through celebrity trash and worked as a gossip writer for publications including The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell and currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Title: 100 Days of Cake
Genre: YA Contemporary w/ Mental Health
Author: Shari Goldhagen
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Publication: May 17th 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5
The title, 100 Days of Cake, makes me think of one of those cozy, food related, mystery books I always see in Mass Market Paperback at Wal-Mart or the grocery store. But it's deeper than that. This book is about a young adult with a mental health problem and how she navigates through a world that doesn't really understand what's going on. Mental health is still such a taboo subject and it shouldn't be anymore.
I believe everyone can benefit from reading this book. I learned some things about myself and I think other could learn some things about their lives or their friends lives. Everyone knows at least one person struggling with mental health related issues and if you don't think you know anyone then maybe you are that person and there is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
Molly is suffering. No, she's not dying or anything but she is suffering. But what can you do when even the most mundane of tasks, like turning off the alarm clock or getting out of bed, cripples you? Nothing... But the truth of this book was very on point. The fights Molly got into with literally EVERYONE she loved and cared about were so real. That stuff really happens, it's happened to me and it sucks so much that people just can't understand what you're going through.
Veronica was such a horrible sister. I mean, yeah, she was probably suffering too because of the whole dad situation but saying what she did to Molly? That's just not something that should ever come from anyone's lips.
Elle was a good best friend. She had her quirks... I think it would be easier to name quirks she didn't have , though. But her heart was in the right place. Elle's character was just one of many that has their own personal story interwoven into this book. I loved that it didn't just focus on one problem. It focused on the problems each character had outside of Molly's depression.
The next thing I want to say is probably very trivial but Molly's attachment to the pet she gets is so heartbreaking and real because pets aren't just pets to most people. And this pet helped Molly so much.
This book made me happy, sad, upset and it also gave me a lot of moments of clarity. When Molly did or said something I found myself reflecting on it and realizing a lot of the things she was saying or doing were things I do or have done. I think this is the most accurate and truthful book I have ever read. There is nothing sugar coated, besides the 100 cakes, and Molly is an actual teenage. When YA books are written with no sex, cussing, drugs, alcohol, etc, I feel like it is such a bold-face lie and it's how authors or publishes want to believe teenagers are but they were teenagers once so they should know these portrayals of teenagers or high school are fake and people can't relate to them. This book.... This book is relatable on a very person and painful level.
At the end of the book something happens and really don't know how I feel about it. I know I want to be angry and disgusted because of things that were said to Molly. But on the other hand I also know that the situation in the book is realistic to the situation. There needs to be more awareness about depression, anxiety and other "invisible" illnesses.
There is SO much I want to talk about like Alex, Molly's dad, her mom, the fish store, Dr. B(UGH!).... But I won't spoil anything for anyone. Please go pick this book up. You truly won't be sorry.
On a more personal note. I connected with this book on a level that I never thought would be possible. Just seeing Molly's life made me realize that a lot of the things I have been through are actually the norm for depressed people. The best way I have ever described depression is it feels like im looking at a rainbow but the color is slowing being sucked out of it so when it's done I'm just left with this shades of grey rainbow. Then as the depression starts to back off the colors come back but not in the correct order or even in the same areas.
Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.
1) What is the best part about being an author?
Ever since I was a little kid, I always made up stories. Even before I could write, I’d dictate these tales about Wonder woman and Batman to my mom (I guess I was an early adopter of fan fic) and she would write them down for me. So it’s cool that I occasionally get paid to do this thing I’ve been doing for, you know, ever. And it’s exciting to have that stuff out in the world so it’s not just in my head.
But it’s also terrifying because these stories are such a big part of who I am—even if the characters are nothing like me at all. In addition to fiction, I do a lot of magazine work, and sometimes I write about extremely personal things from my private life. Weirdly I feel way more exposed writing fiction.
2) Are you currently working on any new books?
Always. Even when I try to turn it off, that part of my brain never really shuts down—much to the dismay of family and friends.
I have a couple of YA projects I’m tinkering with and another adult novel that I’ve been working on for more than a decade. We’re talking so long that I went back to work on it a few months ago and was stunned that all the characters were using Sidekicks instead of iPhones. There are parts of it I love, but there’s a plot issue I’ve never quite made work. I think I’m finally on to something this time, but. . .
3) What actress do you think would fit the role of the main character in 100 Days of Cake?
When I’m writing, a character is so specific in my head that it’s hard to image any real person filling that role. Still it’s definitely fun to cast. I think Hailee Steinfeld might be able to capture Molly’s sort of flat sense of humor as well as her moments of unfettered optimism.
4) What is your favorite type of cake?
I’m a fan of carrot cake (sometimes I can convince myself it’s not that bad for me, since you know, vegetables) and red velvet cake. But I’m actually more of a savory fan. I’d be the person trying 100 Days of French Fries.
5) Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer?
I guess I’m technically a full time writer. I do have a day job: I’m a writer at a celebrity weekly. So literally “writer” is my job title. And then I do a lot of freelance pieces for magazine or websites, which is nice because it lets me explore things that interest me. For instance, I’ve always been a comic book fan, so a few years ago I wrote a bunch of different pieces about various comic cons and the origins of superheroes. And I work for a spa magazine, which is a great way to try out new spa treatments for free.
I always say I wish I had more time to devote to fiction, but there have been times when I’ve done nothing but fiction and got a little too in my head. I’m still trying to find the right balance. And you know still be able to pay for my kid and my cat and my husband.
6) What are 5 fun facts about you?
1. I try to sneak the names of my friends and their kids into my novels. Like a street will be named after someone and someone else will be mentioned as a major character’s first grade teacher. It’s kind of an easy way to tell if my friends actually read the books.
2. When I was a reporter, I interviewed Donald Trump a few times for various Celebrity Apprentice events. At the time I kind of loved him since he gave really great quotes. Did not see this presidential candidate thing coming. . .
3. My college roommate’s father owned a company that made frozen macaroni and cheese. After we graduated, Sheri (yes, someone at Northwestern housing thought it was hysterical to put people with the same names together) and I had no money so we ate Kwimby’s mac & cheese multiple times per day. I inexplicably lost like ten pounds.
4. I grew up in Cincinnati and am extremely defensive of Cincinnati style chili (and the Cincinnati Bengals, though they’re pretty indefensible). My love for Cincy chili is so strong that when I was in high school I actually got a job as a waitress at the Skyline Chili by my parents’ house. I was a bad waitress—so bad that the owner still mentions that whenever my parents go there.
5. Multiple former roommates and ex-boyfriends will tell you, I’m the world’s worst mover. Despite good intentions and a nose for finding free boxes, my address changes rarely go smoothly. By far my weirdest moving experience ended with me wearing a bridesmaid dress and having breakfast at a fire station.