Emily O's Reviews > The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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Mar 08, 11

bookshelves: women-authors, contemporary-lit
Read from February 18 to 26, 2011 — I own a copy

When I discovered that I had won an ARC of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake from the GoodReads Giveaway program, I was both excited and worried. I have read a lot of reviews of Lemon Cake, and it seems to be one of those books that people either absolutely love or totally despise. Well, after a few days of reading, I am happy to announce that I belong to the first category. This book was a calm and contemplative journey into the inner world of a young girl trying to come to terms with her family, the world at large, and herself.

The premise of this book seemed strange to me at first. A girl who can taste people's feelings by eating the food they cook? How strange. But it works surprisingly well, and it's handled with such a mix of delicacy and straightforwardness that it never feels contrived or silly. When Rose describes tasting a spiral of emptiness in her mother's food, I know exactly what she means. This book seemed to be an exercise in emotions I can understand and relate to. Even the things I've never experienced seemed strangely familiar and hauntingly real. While not all of the events in the story were entirely convincing, the book as a whole came off feeling very honest. It was artistic without feeling too contrived, which is no easy feat.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a quiet, contemplative, honest look at families, choices, relationships, and growing up with ourselves. While it may not stick in the memory like other books I have read, it is certainly worthwhile while you are reading it. I would definitely recommend it to people who like contemplative books that focus more on emotion than action.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Fiona This is a great review of what seems to be a rather fascinating novel. It's already stacked upon my to-read shelf.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts in particular:
"When Rose describes tasting a spiral of emptiness in her mother's food, I know exactly what she means. This book seemed to be an exercise in emotions I can understand and relate to. Even the things I've never experienced seemed strangely familiar and hauntingly real."


I'd really like to return to this review and engage in a discussion with you about my own experiences when I have indeed read the book.


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