Christine's Reviews > The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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's review
Jun 14, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: 2010, fiction

Before this novel, I'd only read Aimee Bender's short stories. I loved all of them, so I had high hopes for this novel. And because I *do* love Aimee Bender, it hurts me to say that this book was... disappointing. Just as a gold medal sprinter probably won't do well in a marathon, Bender does better at short stories than she does novels.

That is not to say I didn't like Lemon Cake. It was not bad, it has an interesting premise and a good magical realistic twist towards the end. But I also felt like it was a bit repetitive - Rose reflects on her strange skill of feeling people's emotions through the foods they cook and bake often, but rarely takes action based on the things she learns. I guess that's what most bothered me about this book - the lack of action, of actual things happening. While it can be hard to write action for characters paralyzed by their own circumstances, it's also hard to read a book where not much happens until the last 50 or so pages.

Final verdict: I liked the descriptions of food, the first person narrative, and the easy way the story unfolded. I did not like the lack of character depth or the pacing (first half, too slow - second half, too rushed). Basically, this is a perfect summer book - light and airy without being pure fluff, easy to read and enjoyable while still giving you something to think about at the end of the day. Also, I'm totally baking a lemon chocolate cake, stat.

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