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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Donuts Are Meant To Be Eaten
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:374
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781543979961
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543979954

Donuts Are Meant to Be Eaten

Book 1

by Alex Cook View author's profile page

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On a sultry, summer night in Florida in 1979, the three young Barton brothers hop into the family station wagon and head out for a night on the town. Fueled by high hopes, hormones, and alcohol their adventure takes a dangerous turn when they stumble into a violent situation that changes the very nature of their familial relationships. In the months and years after, the brothers set out on disparate paths and find themselves scattered—is the pull of family enough to keep them together?

This is the first book in a two part series. The second is ONLY THE TRYING. 


The Barton clan has a way of sticking with you long after you turn the last page. There really isn’t a dull moment in either DONUTS ARE MEANT TO BE EATEN or ONLY THE TRYING. Beginning in 1979, and very much describing the characters’ experience of time and place, personality driven drama marches on through time to inevitable conclusions. Told with mature insight and compassion for the characters’ feckless behavior, but also very much giving the reader a sensory experience of the moment— either what it feels like to be an adolescent male in the late ‘70s South or a disillusioned wife and mother in a post tech revolution world. Favorite characters include Aloysius for his ungodly antics and Lily for her compulsions. Sex, violence, and eventually love punctuate the plot and keep things moving along.

Using a "Gonzo" narrative style to examine complicated modern issues, author Alex Cook explores topics like race, sexuality, addiction, politics, mental health, parenting and the effect that rapidly changing technology has on society and the human species. Full of references to literature, music, and pop culture, it's a raucous, poignant family dramedy with the power to entertain and inspire.

This is the first book in a two-part series. The second is ONLY THE TRYING.

The author has committed to donating all of the profits from the sale of DONUTS ARE MEANT TO BE EATEN to The Innocence Project. 

About the author

Alex Cook is a husband, father, abuelito and recreation enthusiast. He and his wife split their time between the Gorge, Baja, and Indonesia.

Book Reviews

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The fun continues! I read this outrageously fun second book after reading and enjoying the first book (Donuts Are Meant to Be Eaten). Only the Trying opens with a fast-paced thrill ride as we catch up with the long-lost, oldest Barton son, Clay, who has slid from soldier, to mercenary, to assassin. As in Donuts, the characters and story lines are unpredictable, quirky, and hold your interest. Assassination, infidelity, addiction, depression, surfing, kiting, asphyxiophilia, bondage...all wrapped in an intellectually crafted package. The author is just as comfortable describing the underwater topography of the La Jolla Canyon as he is the intricacies of border immigration, and this well researched approach brings a rich imagery to the pages. The style reminds me a bit of a cross between Tom Robbins and John Irving. Aloysius Barton and Lilly Stein return as an endearing and deeply weird couple, trying their hardest to be the grown-ups, while struggling with afflictions that they have trouble shaking. My 80-year-old mom read this after me, and perhaps her thoughts were the most succinct: “At the end of it all, Only the Trying is a love story. My conclusion: A+ Read more
Donuts are Meant to Be Eaten A great combination of page turner, societal observer, fun lover, mystery solver and story telling. Read it. Read more
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