Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Title: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Author: Aimee Bender
Genre: Magical Realism
Subject: Food, Family, Coming of Age
Publisher: Doubleday
Release date: June 2010
Length: 286 Pages
I got this book: Borrowed it from the library

From Goodreads:
"On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern."

Personal opinion:
I notice that I am having trouble to actually write my thoughts about this book. The story is really bitter-sweet and a heavier read than I expected. The first part is about how Rose discovers her gift and in the later parts we learn more about her family and how she learns to deal with the huge downside of her gift. The story sometimes makes jumps though time back and forth and this makes the story a little hard to follow sometimes. I really liked Rose but especially in her younger years, I had the feeling she sometimes was too wise or too young but she didn't feel like a 9 year old. The event in the last part of the book came as a total surprise and really freaked me out. The writer did a good job here because it made me feel exactly like Rose did when she found out about the event. I would recommend this to everyone who likes the Magical Realism genre and doesn't like predictable books. I can assure you, you will never see this coming.

I liked it!

Purchase links: Amazon
Other reviews: Book Garden Reviews
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  1. love the idea, really fresh, would try this book out, very simplistic and nice blog you've got here. if you have any tips to make mine better it wld be great, now following

  2. I find books that jump back and forth in time to be a bit confusing as well--unless done well. This one didn't really called out to me at first but I keep seeing mentions of Magical Realism that has piqued my interest. Glad you liked it!

  3. This sounds like a really interesting concept for a book! I generally like books that skip around in time as long as it is done well. I will definitely be checking this book out in the future!