The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

As it happens I have another interesting book to share with you – The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel. Author Aimee Bender explores the intriguing idea of the main character, Rose, being able to taste the emotions of someone else in the food they prepare.

Ultimately, isn’t this a skill that we all need to have – to be able to feel another’s emotions as if they were our own? Isn’t this what it means to be compassionate?

This reviewer explains the story well –

“If I had been asked to rate this novel on the basis of the first fifty pages, I might have given it 3 stars; however, Bender is so expert at building emotions through her fairy-tale magic realism that, after I read the final words, I sighed with pleasure at a story well-told. Narrator Rose is burdened with a terrible “gift.” She can taste the emotions of the cook in every bite she eats, whether that cook is her depressed mother or a rushed restaurant chef or the person who grew the herbs. When Rose tastes the bitterness and betrayals in her parents’ marriage, she finds herself on her knees in gratitude for the school vending machine and its array of impersonally processed junk food. Her brother Joseph has a problem as well; he wants nothing more than to be left alone, to be divorced from the dysfunctional family, to disappear from the restrictions of his life. The two understand each other only as siblings can, even though they refuse to accept, at least at first, the peculiarities of the other. It takes George, Joseph’s brilliant friend, to release both of them, albeit in different ways.” Debbie Lee Wesselmann, May, 2010.

I liked this novel because again, it provides another way to view reality that is transformative for the reader. See if this is true for you too.

You may also like The Boy Who Harnassed the Wind, and Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life.

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