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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by…
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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (edition 2011)

by Aimee Bender (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9902533,229 (3.35)218
Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
Member:mimi_bookdragon
Title:The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Authors:Aimee Bender (Author)
Info:Anchor (2011), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

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» See also 218 mentions

English (250)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (253)
Showing 1-5 of 250 (next | show all)
An enjoyable read with a unique storyline about a girl who could feel emotions in the food she ate. If half stars were available I'd give it 3.5. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
This was the book I chose to read for the reading challenge: 'a book judged by its cover'. Judging from the cover, I was assuming chicklit-like light reading, just something to make me happy and kill some time on.
Boy was I ever wrong. There's a lot of clichés in this that make the overall taste (eheh) a bit bland, but the main premise of the story is fascinating. Despite the rather glum outlook on life most characters seem to have, the main character gets to a place where she is -I think- happy. It leaves you a bit hopeful, although only a bit. Interesting family relations, too! I think that those are, in the end, the main focus of the book.
I might just pick it up again after this year. It's definitely an easy read, but takes you away nevertheless! ( )
  stormnyk | Aug 6, 2020 |
I rarely go find other people's reviews before I add my own thoughts about a book. But I had to in this case. I really appreciate the provocative direction of this book and felt very pulled into the writing and the premise. But the ending left me feeling quite confused and I spent the last few days trying to pinpoint my feelings about the story. I scanned other readers' experiences on Goodreads with the book and discovered that I wasn't alone.

I do think this is a book worth reading if you like a little challenge in deciphering meanings and having reality suspended somewhat. And if you like to read about families trying to find their way with each other, this gives you a good dose of that. But just know that it could produce some ambivalent feelings by the end! ( )
  jjpseattle | Aug 2, 2020 |
An interesting story. I received this book from my secret Santa here at LT in 2019 and read it for f2f bookclub July read. I have to admit that I was not expecting to like the book as much as I did. I found the book to be an interesting story of a young girl who is able to "know" things when she eats food. Her brother can disappear by becoming catatonic and inanimate. Her dad won't go into hospitals, her mother is "sad", always seeking, and eventually enters into an affair. It is an interesting story of a younger sibling, older brother is the favorite, father is not engaged with family, mother is having an affair outside of the marriage. It is presentation that is unique and magical. This is the dysfunctional family told with a magical realist spin.The book is preceded by this quote from Brillat-Savarin (The Physiology of Taste), "Food is all those substances which, submitted to the action of the stomach can be assimilated or changed into life by digestion, and can thus repair the losses which the human body suffers through the act of living. It is also a interesting bit of "food writing", enough to make you want to get into the car and find a nice small family owned French restaurant. Rated 4.2 stars ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 4, 2020 |
Creative, sad and thoughtful. The story covers the childhood and adolescent of a girl who can taste people's feelings when she eats food they made. Most of the feelings are overwhelming and she ends up trying to eat mostly factory-processed food. I thought her story and the way it connects with stories from other family members was really well done and interesting. Though it was gloomy, I think it captured well how it feels to be a deeply empathetic person, and how one reaction is to shut yourself off from other people and all those feelings. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 250 (next | show all)
Had the novel focused only on this imaginative food conceit, it would have been merely clever - but Bender is too good a writer for that. She uses Rose's secret burden as a means of exploring the painful limits of empathy, the perils of loneliness, and Rose's deeply dysfunctional family.
 
Bender has inherited at least three profound strains, three genetic codes or lines of inquiry from her forebears in American literature. There's the Faulknerian loneliness, the isolation that comes from our utter inability, as human beings, to truly communicate with each other; the crippling power of empathy (how to move forward when everyone around you is in pain) that is so common in our literature it's hard to attach a name to it, and the distance created by humor, a willfully devil-may-care attitude that allowed, for example, Mark Twain to skip with seeming abandon around serious issues like racism and poverty.
 
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Epigraph
"Food is all those substances which, submitted to the action of the stomach, can be assimilated or changed into life by digestion, and can thus repair the losses which the human body suffers through the art of living." -Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Dedication
First words
It happened for the first time on a Tuesday afternoon, a warm spring day in the flatlands near Hollywood, a light breeze moving east from the ocean and stirring the black-eyes pansy petals newly planted in our flower boxes.
Quotations
It was like we were exchanging codes, on how to be a father and a daughter, like we’d read about it in a manual, translated from another language, and were doing our best with what we could understand.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

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