Adam's Reviews > The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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's review
Jan 05, 12

bookshelves: audiobooks-a-z
Read from December 21, 2011 to January 05, 2012

Post Listen Review: I could go on for a long time on the particular crappiness of the title of this book but there is so much more to talk about here. We'll start with the basics.

The Premise: There is a young girl who can taste emotions in food. I could buy that. I don't have too much of an issue with that as an idea. I mean, I can believe there was a planet that exploded and sent one survivor to earth who now has super powers so tasting emotions is not that much of a stretch.

BUT... this gets so much crazier than that. The girl tastes things like anger and sadness and infidelity etc. But she has this brother who seems to disappear all the time and no one knows why. I thought that maybe he could become invisible or was just really insecure and liked to hide. Nope. Instead he can turn himself into... a chair. He dissapears and seems to become furniture. I am not kidding.

If that isn't weird enough, the girl's Grandfather, we learn at the end, could smell people's emotions. Thus explaining the fact that he wore some kind of face mask all the time but no one bothered to tell that to the girl when she was all, this lemon cake needs a hug or whatever.

The girl's father is able to do something, he thinks, inside a hospital so he has never set foot in one because he is afraid to. I would be too.

The girl's mother seems to have the ability to um... have an affair and then bake guilt and intesity into her cookies. The girl never tells the father which is pretty messed up. When she is nine and finds out I can excuse that but when she is in High School she must have some inkling that having affairs are not cool but she remains mum so she doesn't have to taste sad cooking. (The cookies go to the mother's lover instead so yay for her)

Throughout the whole thing she is in love with her brother's friend and when they finally kiss, he tastes of sunshine and ambition. And pity. Now that is just depressing.

I really don't know how she doesn't get locked up for having some kind of delusions at any point in the book.

The stuff she tastes: As much as I can buy that this girl could taste emotions, some of what she tastes seems really out there. The first time it happens she is overwhelmed by her mother's depression. This is before the affair. I get that would be overwhelming. But then she tastes smallness and the grit in the cook's jaw or something. She likes packaged food because she can tell if it comes from a well run farm and she can taste the factory the food came from. I would think that fertilizer and factory chemicals taste nasty.

Repetitive language: I am going to quote some lines from the book that really could have been polished up before publication. "It made it taste hollow. Like the lemon and chocolate were surrounding a hollowness" "...thick and chewy. Like it was hard to chew." "He wanted to be aloner than alone. Alonest." Seriously, get a thesaurus.

Language that inadvertantly made me laugh: "The room smelled warm. Of deep sleep and coccoons." "The chef was a little surly in his minestrone" "The sandwich wants you to love it."

To sum up: This book was crappy. Like there was a crappiness to it. Similar to a book filled with crappiness. Crappiest.

Pre-Listen Guess: You are not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But no one ever said you can't judge a book by its title. (Well maybe someone said it but that is a less famous quote if they did) Judging by this title, this book is going to be really, really, really bad.
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