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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel » User review

Edible, But I Would Rather Have Pie

  • Feb 10, 2011
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The characters in The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake shy away from full engagement with the world. There could be a stretch in interpretation regarding the damage secrets and familial unhappiness does to individuals and how the unhappiness can haunt generations. My problem is that I am not sure the book engaged this issue on a deep level. Alternatively, the book was not particularly compelling on an individual level either....Aimee Bender seems too unsure of her characters and the ideas inherent in her setup to achieve a satisfying engagement with either.

There are readers and book clubs who will really enjoy it, will love puzzling out what the magical ability could mean or what having the ability would be like or how beautiful it all is. However, the novel struck no chords of mine. None of it was a bad taste, so much, but, like the eponymous lemon cake, it tasted kind of hollow.

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More The Particular Sadness of Lemo... reviews
review by . January 02, 2011
In "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake," author Aimee Bender(Willful Creatures) whips up the poignant coming-of-age narrative of her lead character, Rose Edelstein that implodes what could have been an overtly sugary adult fairy tale with a bracing component of the bittersweet. Juxtaposing moments of sophistication and sensitivity with the complexities of an active mind rich with inner mystery, Bender creates a tale swirling with the foam of adolescent desire, mingling dark chocolate notes of …
review by . May 25, 2010
This is one of those rare books that makes me realize how grateful I am that I enjoy reading and am given the gift of being able to slip into someone else's story and experience what they do through the written word.    As other reviewers have noted: this is the story of a young woman who discovers that she can taste other people's deepest emotions and secrets through the food that they prepare. It changes her perspective on the world and while there is no "revolution of action" …
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Kerry Hubers ()
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I blog at http://hungrylikethewoolf.wordpress.com
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Taking her very personal brand of pessimistic magical realism to new heights (or depths), Bender's second novel (followingAn Invisible Sign of My Own) careens splendidly through an obstacle course of pathological, fantastical neuroses. Bender's narrator is young, needy Rose Edelstein, who can literally taste the emotions of whoever prepares her food, giving her unwanted insight into other people's secret emotional lives—including her mother's, whose lemon cake betrays a deep dissatisfaction. Rose's father and brother also possess odd gifts, the implications of which Bender explores with a loving and detailed eye while following Rose from third grade through adulthood. Bender has been called a fabulist, but emerges as more a spelunker of the human soul; carefully burrowing through her characters' layered disorders and abilities, Bender plumbs an emotionally crippled family with power and authenticity. Though Rose's gift can seem superfluous at times, and Bender's gustative insights don't have the sensual potency readers might crave, this coming-of-age story makes a bittersweet dish, brimming with a zesty, beguiling talent.(June)
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ISBN-10: 0385501129
ISBN-13: 978-0385501125
Author: Aimee Bender
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
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