Lots Of Moving Parts That All Work Well. This book is a 400 page version of the first time we see a Transformer transform in the first live action movie all those years ago – so *very* many moving parts, so many that it can get quite dizzying and hard to keep up with at times, but if you put in the effort… you get a pretty solid story out of it. Though yes, it does in fact get a bit preachy at times (never enough to truly ding it a star, but enough to roll the eyes at times) and yes, with a bit of editing this story could have been much stronger overall. Still, all the various issues Wilkerson brings to the table – various race based issues, LGBT, rape, workplace discrimination (of varying forms), the ease of adopting a new identity pre-mass surveillance, etc etc etc – ultimately work to create a rich, vibrant tapestry rather than crowd each other out too much. And for a journalist turned debut novelist… this is a pretty solid indication that maybe she has something here. Admittedly, I’ll be a bit leery that Wilkerson could indeed get too preachy in subsequent works… but I’m going to read the next one based on the strength of this one and find out then. Very much recommended.
This review of Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson was originally written on February 15, 2022.