Jaime's Reviews > The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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's review
Jul 10, 2016

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, magical_realism, literary_fiction
Read in July, 2011

This was a very unusual, but enjoyable, story. Some may think the story centers around Rose’s “gift”, but her abilities soon fade into the background of the story. What was horrible for her at first just becomes another part of her, as she hones her ability to work with and around it. I thought the author came up with some interesting ways for Rose to cope, including eating primarily processed foods (because factories taste better than emotions) and seeking out restaurants where the chefs cook with love.

For me, the story was really about the family. Rose’s family is one where there is so much happening, but no one talks about it. In many ways, Rose is merely an observer. Her mother, brother, and father are all in their own little worlds, especially as Rose and her brother grow older. Turns out, there’s more of a story behind Rose’s gift than she ever would have thought.

I had one problem with the book, and that was with the subplot with her brother. It felt unfinished to me. I suspect that the author thought things were more clear than they actually were, and the story suffers from the ambiguity.

I don’t normally read magical realism, but I won’t be afraid to explore the genre in the future.

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