Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorite Reads of 2010: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

It's that time of year again--your friendly neighborhood librarians are eager to tell you about their favorite reads of 2010. Here is Elizabeth J. with a review:

In Aimee Bender’s novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, we meet Rose, a just-turning-nine-year-old, with a strange gift: She can taste peoples’ feelings in the food they make, and it starts with the lemon cake her Mother bakes. Rose’s Mom is not happy, and the cake has a sad, empty taste. From here on, Rose’s extrasensory mouth can taste all manner of feelings, even being able to tell how the people felt who made the cream for the quiches for sale in a French cafĂ©. She painfully searches for the happiest places to eat.

Rose’s family--her unhappy mother, phobic father, and strangely restrained (can he really disappear?) brother--further help to enhance the eccentricities of the book. One character, her brother’s friend George, stands out: He is happy and trusting, and believes in Rose’s so-called malady, so she turns to him for help. Rose keeps moving forward, and she does figure a way to make her peculiar condition work for her.

There is a dream-like quality to Bender’s novel, and I was captivated by each character’s unconventional persona, and the strangely sorrowful, yet profoundly human soul in each of them.

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