Riverhead, Oct 2004, 24.95, 384 pp.
Because Jana and Jorda were an intricate part of the Prague Spring of 1968, they lost nearly everything when the hardliners brought in the Russians to crush the reformists. As they struggle to earn a living both agree no more children. However, in 1974, Jana dreams of a new daughter and one year later Dominika is born.
For the next eighteen years, Dominika grew up in a relatively happy home although poverty was the norm in the Prague suburb of Cernosice. There Jana was the prime bread winner writing books for the State Economic Institute that her bosses claimed as theirs while earning a small pittance. Though an educated intellect, Jorda did odd physical jobs when he could get employment. In fact the most employed member of the household was their dog, TV star Barry the St. Bernard. Because Dominika has an upbeat open personality and indirectly her parents encourage this, she and her family were in trouble in a village with moles and traitors willing to turn in a loved one to the state without remorse.
This engaging memoir provides a deep look into Czechoslovakia just after the Russian tanks occupied the country. Readers will see the impact on those who followed Dubcek (one of the tragic figures of the previous century) as they tried to remove the corruption out of Communism and grant freedoms to the people before folding to the Soviet military might. THE TWELVE LITTLE CAKES is an interesting period piece that showcases the Cold War at one of its coldest moments.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner