Jodi's Reviews > The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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Aug 05, 2010

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Right before her ninth birthday, Rose has a bite of a lemon cake her mom baked. It was a practice cake to make sure the recipe was right for the big occasion, Rose’s birthday. In that bite, Rose is overcome with her mom’s feelings of loneliness and emptiness.

Rose’s magical power — tasting the emotions and background of the people who prepare the food she eats — takes center stage for about half of Aimee Bender’s second novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. It’s a fabulous, interesting premise that seems to get lost halfway through the book.

Rose is kind of a lonely, odd-duck herself in a family filled with lonely, odd-ducks. On the surface the Edelstein’s look like American apple pie goodness and all that. Dad’s a lawyer, Mom’s an artist who works at a carpentry co-op, and brother Joe’s a budding scientific genius. But then there’s the cake filled with sadness and regret. It’s our first hint that things aren’t as they seem.

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