Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
First published by Doubleday in 2010 (this edition by Anchor Books in 2011)

Description (from Goodreads)
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming 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. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she’s  privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father’s detachment, her mother’s transgression, her brother’s increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can’t discern.

My thoughts
I was browsing through the internet one day, looking for books to order from the Book Depository, when I suddenly came upon The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. For some reason or another, the title appealed to me and I went on to read the blurb and finally, buy the book. So it was really a random buy. Although I do thing the cover is pretty!!

The premise of this book is actually quite interesting. The main character, Rose, discovers quite suddenly, on the eve of her 9th birthday, that she can taste her mother's emotions in her lemon cake. As the days go buy, she discovers things about her mother that she wouldn't really have wanted to know, just by tasting the food she has been preparing. With the help of one of her brother's friends, she experiments a little and realises that she can taste whatever emotion the maker of the food had while he/she was actually in the process of making it.

The book started off quite well. It was rather interesting and engaging, and I found the writing to be very good. The chapters are also rather small, and they help the story flow. What I was a little surprised by, though, was the fact that the weird things that were happening to Rose with her tasting buds, were proven to be rather mild compared to the weird things that were happening to certain other people in the book. (I won't say names, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who decides to read it) I can quite honestly say that, even now, nearly two weeks after I finished reading it (and have had time to think about it), I have no idea what was going on with said person.

I did enjoy reading it, though not as much towards the end (as I wasn't sure about what was going on), but I do know one thing: Aimee Bender has a rather distinctive (and very enjoyable) way of writing, so I think I might try another one of her books sometime in the future.

Rating: 6/10 (purely because of my BIG question marks)

Aimee Bender is an American author. She lives in Los Angeles and currently teaches creative writing at USC. Other than The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (which is her latest novel), she has written another three books:

You can find out more about Aimee Bender from her official website.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011


  1. Newbooks magazine have clearance copies for £2.50 so I might grab it but won't rush to read it. If it didn't have such a good title I probably wouldn't want it!

  2. The premise is pretty odd and reminds me of 'Pushing Daisies' for some reason :-/ None the less, nice review. I've seen this one around a few times but never thought of picking it up. Maybe one day :)

  3. I have given you a blog award! Hop on over to check it out!!!

    Fragments of Fiction


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