31 January 2022

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Book Review

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Publication date: June 26, 2010
Pages: 294 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ☆☆☆☆
Sweet Spark: Oh dear Rose. I just want to wrap the lil narrator in a cloud and keep her safe and happy as an eight-year-old.

Rose Edelstein discovers she has a gift while eating the cake her mother made her for her ninth birthday. She can taste the emotions of the person who makes her food, even if they aren't quite sure how they feel themselves. For a young child who can't even comprehend some of these adult emotions, it's so far from a useful gift that it is probably more aptly described as a curse.

Her loneliness with the secrets she bears is palpable. And she learns quickly that people will only think she's crazy if she tries to tell them why she doesn't want to eat anymore. What a burden for a sweet young girl.

The book takes us through from when Rose discovers her ability until years after her high school graduation. She carries so many secrets through this time, and has so much insight to the people who make up the rest of her family. Her dad seems to be just passing through, most of the time, til he eventually reveals a secret that is almost his own. Rose's brother is so hard for any of them to really know, but of course Rose ends up coming the closest. And Rose's mom, of course, is the one she can keep tabs on without even trying, since she does most of the cooking. 

The book was a poignant family drama, and I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. I'd recommend it for those who enjoy mostly contemporary family dramas. I don't think the actual years were stated. It felt modern-ish, but not with a lot of technology.

This is the first book I've finished for the 12 Challenge - 12 Months to read 12 Books recommended by 12 Friends. This was recommended by my cousin (or my mom's cousin?), Sarah M. I'm glad I read it - thanks, Sarah!

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