Marian Keyes overcame alcoholism to begin her writing career at age 30. She has since written 15 books that have sold over 22 million copies, all of the time struggling with severe clinical depression. The most recent bout of it stopped her from writing for nearly two years. Apart from writing lovely prose, Marian Keyes is a feminist (Booker Prize winner Zadie Smith called her one of the most important modern feminists) and an all-around hilarious and likable woman. You can see for yourself:
I’ve read every single book she’s written because her characters are so wonderful and easy to relate to and, while they deal with big issues, somehow make me feel really happy. Every so often I go to her website look to see if she has updated her newsletter, but until yesterday it had been well over a year (when I read her latest book) since I’d gotten a fix of Marian. Thank God almighty or whatever made her strong enough to tie on an apron. Marian has a new book and this time it is about baking.
"Saved By Cake," which just came out on February 16th, is a chronicle of her depression told in recipes with full-page photos of every recipe and fun, irreverent cooking instructions. Normally, I’m not even much of a sweet person but the pictures along with the really interesting recipes and funny instructions -- Lavender and White Chocolate Cheesecake “You’re thinking why would I want to eat a cheesecake that tastes like and aromatherapist’s couch?”), Orange and Fennel Tuiles "Serve to people who don't really belive in eating" -- make me really want to start baking.
In the book, she makes it clear baking did not actually “save her” but helped lift her out of her funk enough to keep going during her darkest of days:
“I need to make something clear: Baking may not be for you and if it isn't, I'm sorry and I hope you find something that helps. I also need to tell you that baking hasn't 'cured' me. But it gets me through. My challenge -- everyone's challenge -- is about living through today and I find that baking passes the time.To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myeself or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I'll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow."
Oh wow, writing that out made me think of Eddie Izzards "Cake or Death" sketch. Let relive it shall we:
I'm also very excited because Marian says she finished another novel recently, which will be published this Fall. I love her novels even more than I love cookies, but I suppose until then Slightly Sinister Star Anise Cupcakes and Chocolate and Chilli and Cardamom Tart will do.