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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by…
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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Aimee Bender (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0072563,283 (3.35)220
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:silkwall
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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Work details

The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (2010)

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» See also 220 mentions

English (253)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (256)
Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)
I likely would have given this five stars, but the ending was a bit of a let-down. It just seemed too abrupt, too much of an important realization that is just left there, hanging. Aside from that, however, this is a wonderful -- if somewhat heartbreaking--story. Bender mixes the surreal with the all-too-real in a very genuine and compelling way. Having grown up in Los Angeles, the familiar surroundings made the more surreal elements seem like the surprise tang from the cornichons in Rose's paté sandwich -- bright contrast, but supposed to be there.

It can be read as a quirky surrealist tale, but I think that misses the important layer and the lessons about our human-ness. In any group of people, we can almost count on someone who tastes the nuances of life, someone who lives a life of avoidance in fear of the unknown, and those who wish to blend in with the scenery. They are all there, and Bender reminds us of our own potential to taste, to avoid, and to be absorbed. ( )
  rebcamuse | Feb 6, 2021 |
Hmm...well, that was weird. Creative story, but I just couldn't empathize with the characters. ( )
  pmichaud | Dec 21, 2020 |
It was a good read, but it ended rather abruptly. ( )
  HillaryFredrick | Nov 4, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 253 (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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