Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender cover
On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice. All at once her cheerful, can-do mother tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes perilous. Anything can be revealed at any meal.
Rose's gift forces her to confront the truth behind her family's emotions - her mother's sadness, her father's detachment and her brother's clash with the world. But as Rose grows up, she learns that there are some secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

Aimee Bender is the author of the novel An Invisible Sign of My Own and of the collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and Willful Creatures. Her work has been widely anthologized and has been translated into ten languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

This is going to be difficult to write but for me this book did not really live up to the expectations I had for it and that made me sad. Part of this had to do with the build up in the story. Rose tells the story as an adult starting on her ninth birthday. I felt both the child in the way it was told but there was to much adult tone in it making it that I was not sure which Rose I was dealing with. This made it hard for me to connect to her. After the initial excitement about being able to taste the emotion in the food the story starts to slow down and years go by without anything really happening until the end where there are some new developments.
I did like George but even though his existence is important to the book he is not there enough to make a difference for me.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Author: Aimee Bender
Publisher: Windmill Books
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0099538261
ISBN-13: 9780099538264
Publisher: eBook | Paperback | Paperback
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

2 star review

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Monika
AUTHOR
01 December, 2013 delete

There's definitely a surrealness to Bender's writing that makes the story just kind of... float around for a long while. This is one of my favorite books, but I can understand exactly why you'd feel this way!

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02 December, 2013 delete

I also ended up feeling let down when I read this one. From the synopsis, I thought it would be just the type of book I'd love -- but I also felt that it was kind of flat and lost interest in it.

Lisa

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02 December, 2013 delete

I haven't read this one, but it's been on my list for a long time. I'm sad it didn't live up to your expectations. I hate it when that happens!

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Jennine G.
AUTHOR
02 December, 2013 delete

This was my feeling with I Am Number 4. I felt the pre we was great, but the writing could've been so much more. The premise to this one sounds great too, so maybe I'll give it a try if it comes across my path. But I hate when it sounds sooo good and isn't.

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Isi
AUTHOR
02 December, 2013 delete

What a shame, Ciska!
I've read a lot of positive reviews of this book in the Spanish blogs, and I thought you were going to love it. Perhaps it was that your expectations were so high, and when this happens we are more likely to get disappointed with a book.
Hope the next read is much better!

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Melinda
AUTHOR
03 December, 2013 delete

Too bad! I've seen a review of this, which was a good one and now your one which isn't. I trust your review :) Hope your next read is better

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03 December, 2013 delete

Oh well. . . sounds like a good story, but I guess not! Have you read Like Water for Chocolate? It's short, and really good. There's a scene where a woman is so sad she cries all into the wedding cake she's making which causes everyone to get sick. . . kind of like they felt her emotions because no one would get sick from a couple of tears.

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04 December, 2013 delete

Sorry to hear this one didn't live up to your expectations. I've been meaning to try Aimee Bender, but maybe this isn't the right place to start?

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wensend.com
AUTHOR
05 December, 2013 delete

Such a bummer this one wasn't that great. The summary sounds awesome, but I think this will be a no go for me.

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