The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I am a huge fan of ‘Like Water for Chocolate’, so this book really appealed to me. Let me tell you though, If you are averse to fairy tales/fantasy or magical realism, this is not the book for you.  I loved that this story was original and multi layered  simultaneously.

The story belongs to Rose; a 9 yr old who suddenly discovers she can taste/read  a person’s emotions with just one bite of  food. It is essentially her story into adulthood, with major starring roles by emotionally out of touch parents and a depressed older brother. The very first time she tastes her mother’s ‘lemon cake’ she finds out her mother is incredibly sad and the cake screams out to her of unfulfilled dreams and wishes. Although she starts to avoid the cake, she has no choice but to continue to eat other food prepared by her mother, which in turn leads to another revelation that could have spelled disaster if not for the author’s skill at weaving through that revelation with a lot of love.  In trying to avoid eating her mother’s food, Rose weaves a delightful description of pre-packaged food which is sweet and funny, although the story is so unbearably sad in many ways. I also loved how the author uses no quotation marks in the entire book, it might take some getting used to, but it fits in with the story. I am definitely ready to tackle another of Aimee Bender’s books, I hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed this one.

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