A Deadly Education left me with very mixed feelings. The opening line held so much promise. It offered conflict and an intriguing dichotomy right from the get-go. Such as, why would anyone want to kill the very person who’d saved their life? What more when they had saved them more than once? I wanted answers but didn’t feel like I got much by the end of the book. Is this one premise supposed to span across the entire series? Evidently, but the opening of the story arc for it didn’t turn out as solidly as I had hoped.
Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
Good satire makes you laugh while simultaneously reflecting on the subject matters. Rooted in reality, it makes you wonder how serious these characters are (very) but then on second thought you realise that they’re world views are so black and white, they couldn’t be for real. With that in mind, Borowitz used satire very effectively in Family and Other Catastrophes. Emily was so neurotic but with the kind of mother she had, it kind of made sense. Her sister Lauren, was fully committed to feminist social activism, in stark contrast to their brother, Jason, who was a desperate divorcé and quite the sexist.