I never thought I would meet a man whose passion for cookies equaled my own.... So begins Mae's story of meeting Luke, the man of her dreams. However she soon discovers that his true passion is not for her favorite oatmeal raisin cookies, but rather for peanut butter cookies.
I never thought I would meet a woman whose passion for unpopular literature equaled my own.... So begins Luke's story of meeting Mae, the woman of his dreams. However he soon discovers that her true passion is not for his favorite Jean Robin, writer of romance novels that dissolve into meaninglessness, but rather Roger Casey, who writes recursive novels full of plot twists, in which structure creates meaning.
Together Mae and Luke decide to write a story, which turns out to be the very novel the reader is reading. The theme is how people try to change their partners into their ideal image of them. The story itself becomes representative of this struggle. Luke tries to create a story about romance; Mae attempts to write a story about cookies. In the story Mae bakes peanut butter raisin cookies for Luke. When she becomes upset that he doesn't like them, he bakes her oatmeal peanut butter cookies in the shape of hearts. The battle becomes more violent: Mae removes a particularly romantic passage and writes a recipe for brownies in its place. Luke retaliates by erasing every fifth word and replacing it with "love".
Luke begins to realize he will never be able to make Mae into his ideal woman, and writes a new character, Theresa, into the story. However he spends so much time making sure her taste in literature matches his that he completely forgets about her taste in cookies, and she ends up preferring Mae to him. Together Mae and Theresa banish Luke from the story, and replace him with Mark, whom Mae has created to be her ideal. Mark falls in love with Theresa, and Mae herself is expelled.
Theresa and Mark delight in telling each other stories about Mae and Luke's terrible fate. Theresa says that when people try to change others, they instead find themselves changed into what they imagine the other person wants. Mark agrees, and then reveals that the entire story had in fact been written by Luke alone, as a present to Mae. But he had lost control of it, and in the end it had turned into a story for himself.
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