Sunday, 19 February 2012

Bookworm: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

This book caught my eye a long while ago and after planning to put it on my Kindle, I found myself receiving the book as a Christmas present. The whole idea of a story looking at somebody being able to tell other people's emotions and in such an odd way as 'tasting' how their loved ones feel, really appealed to me.

Aimee Bender's book seemed so different to fiction I'd read before, but with slight hints of writers such as Jodi Picoult, Alice Sebold and Audrey Niffenegger. I was convinced I was going to love the story and find it a book I kept reading for years to come.

The story starts with the overall theme very quickly, focussing on the fact that after eating a piece of chocolate and lemon cake (does anyone else think this is an odd flavour/recipe in itself??) a young girl finds she can 'taste' what her mother is feeling.

As the book continues you learn more about an American family, the way they live and the secrets they are hiding. You follow Rose throughout her childhood and indeed her life and grow to understand how she copes with this 'talent' or 'curse' - depending on how you view such a feature.

I found the book intriguing and although it suggests an unbelievable and unrealistic situation, I felt myself eager to read more and caught up in the magic of it all. I wanted to learn what else Rose would find out and enjoyed the slightly 'odd' feel to the descriptions and characters involved.

However, what I found disappointing was the fact there weren't that many examples of Rose eating something and tasting the emotions of her family members. The main focus was on her mother, but then the book turns to other people and information on where foods themselves were made, which I didn't really understand.

Looking at the book in total I did enjoy reading it, but without spoiling the ending - I felt it got too far-fetched when it came to one character in particular. I think Bender could have focussed more on Rose's eating experiences when young and actual emotions she learnt or felt.

Good points
Offers something different
Interesting characters
Good escapism/magic feel
Keeps you interested

Not so great
Odd ending
Some parts don't really add up/make sense
One character and their 'talent' or 'curse' not very well explained and too far-fetched

So, give the book a go, I'm sure overall you'll enjoy it. Let me know if you've read anything else similar but which you feel works better. And if you do decide to read this food-themed fiction let me know if it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth or tickles your tastebuds!

1 comment:

  1. Love the way the review unfolds in a different pattern. Keeping it short and simple, the blogger manages to narrate her experience in a nutshell. The idea of having good points and not so great works well for readers who pick up books based on review.