“The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Cafe” by Jenny Oliver

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café (Cherry Pie Island - Part 1)

(Author: Jenny Oliver) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


* I received the book through NetGalley and this is the honest review I’m providing. *

As far as summaries go: Annie inherits the Dandelion Cafe, famous for its cherry pies and considers selling it but then decides to breathe some life into it and bring back the magic it used to possess in her childhood. She has the help of her millionaire neighbour, his teenage son, a very scary-looking but darling waitress and a passionate Latino cook. Her family is also part of this wonderful, cherry-flavoured adventure, starting from her kind and sweet mother and ending with her annoying brother who also happens to have a heart from time to time.

So, welcome to…


Oh, wait… wrong story.
But actually, for those of you who have watched Pushing Daisies, I recommend this book, I really do! It has the same colorful and adorable atmosphere. Actually… maybe it’s food that does this. When I think of pies and sweets and ice cream I get fuzzy all over.

Now, I have a couple of things that I need to mention in this review, which are in no particular order and don’t have much of a connection, so I’ll just throw them out there:

.One: As I mentioned above, I really liked the entire setting of the book. Jenny Oliver has a knack for descriptions, I’ll give her that. I could just imagine myself walking in the dusty cafe, with its dirty windows and chipped cups. But I could also imagine the smell of the “actually not bad coffee” and almost taste the pie. (Sadly I DID NOT eat cherry pie at all while reading. Which is sad. If I was a bad person I’d just take a star off the book for giving me food cravings. But I’m not. We’ll get to the minus sides later.) 

What is strange is that I could picture just about everything in the book, but not its actual setting. For the life of me I could not will myself to accept that this is in fact England. I could probably put some blame on Pushing Daisies, to be honest. But overall, it was all very colorful. I’ve been to England. It’s BEAUTIFUL. It’s amazing. It’s lovely. It’s inspiring. But when I think of it, I see it somewhat dulled. As if through a curtain of rain. And don’t imagine that I say that as a bad thing. America, however, is all colors and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself of it, this book was sort of set in America for me.

.Two.Three: Characters, characters, characters. There is so much to be said about them. I should probably try to separate this part to sub-parts, but the characters are one aspect which consists of a couple of aspects. Still with me?

Annie: I mostly liked her when she was interacting with the other characters, but as a stand-alone person, I couldn’t really connect with her. It’s not just that she’s older than me, that is rarely a factor and it depends entirely on the characters. It’s that she’s older than me and acting like someone much younger than me. I’m sorry if someone finds this offensive, but after all we are talking about an honest opinion. I do not think that it’s bad for a person to live their life to the fullest, no matter the age. But one should still be responsible and somewhat appropriate. I cannot imagine a world in which I would wear sequined tights, let alone wear them ten years from now. And don’t take this too literally. There is a metaphor hidden in those tights. Too often “living life” is mistaken with “running away from responsibility and acting like a child”. So Annie’s only redeeming quality for me is the fact that at one point she does try to be responsible.

 &Connections: What really did not do it for me in the book, is the fact that everything is very fast resolved. Yes, this is quite the short book, which is both good and bad: good, as it doesn’t take you a week to read about three events and actually look for them in a sea of useless information and artistic expression; bad – it does not allow characters to grow on their own – they have to be nudged far too obviously by the author. The narrative and stories don’t just flow, you see Oliver’s hand forcing everyone to act the way she needs them in order to tie up the story nicely.

And it’s my opinion that the best of books are those you can lose yourself in, forget that they are books and forget that they have an author. 

So this is basically why I knocked two stars off. I could go on about each and every character, but I’m not actually writing a novel based on the novel, so I’m going to summarize: The characters are adorable, really, really cute. And that’s just it, they don’t seem real enough and you cannot really put yourself in their shoes.

.Four: There was this one scene that really got to me, though. I absolutely loved it and it also broke my heart. I don’t think I’m going to say anything too spoilery, but if you don’t want any information about the book, skip the rest of this paragraph. {My absolute favourite part about this book was the scene in which Annie remembers her father when he gave her the car money and left. It really hit something in me. It’s heartbreaking to imagine someone leaving you like that. Even if it was not your last meeting at all. It was beautiful and lovely and sad.}

Overall: I didn’t give it higher rating, because characters are really important to me, but aside from that, I enjoyed The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Cafe. It has fun and it’s really sweet and such a nice way to spend a few hours.

Warning! May give you cravings for cherry pie!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s