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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

A Novel
Bender, Aimee (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake


Item Details

Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
Authors: Bender, Aimee
Title: The particular sadness of lemon cake
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 292 p. ;,22 cm
Summary: Being able to taste people's emotions in food may at first be horrifying. But young, unassuming Rose Edelstein grows up learning to harness her gift as she becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
Awards & Distinctions: Literary Awards - Alex Awards
ISBN: 0385501129
9780385501125
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Report This Mar 29, 2014
  • Cynthia_N rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book felt similar to A Wrinkle In Time. Smart brother who loves science, misfit sister, and a touch of fantasy. It works! I enjoyed the book and while the ending was not quite what I hoped, I liked that it was expected and unexpected!

Report This Aug 10, 2013
  • jamilad rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Definitely depressing but it's one of those books it's hard to put down..

Report This Aug 04, 2013
  • african_violet13 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The book didn't end the way I wanted it to.

A patron review from the Adult Summer Reading Game: I loved the concept of this book. As I was reading it, I realized I had read it already and forgot the storyline. I enjoyed it (again).

Report This Jun 29, 2013
  • Indigo_Cobra_8 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I honestly don't know why this book is getting such negative reviews. I really liked this book and thought it was interesting. Don't get fooled by the blurb that this is one of those books about a teenager coming of age, because it's not--I would describe it as a mash-up of mystery, realistic fiction, and fantasy. I found some parts of the book deeply depressing and some of it quirky, and I liked the open-ended ending.

Report This Apr 12, 2013
  • JCLAshleyF rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is well written fantasy with its basis in realism. The story explores the life of a young girl and her seemingly typical family, as well as, her unique ability to taste the feelings of the chef in the food she eats. This discovery leads to complex revelations about her family and the world. I found the first three-fourths of the book to be very enjoyable, but the ending was very unsatisfactory, unbelievable, and diverted far from the original story line and premise. However, others have told me that they very much enjoyed all parts of the book.

Report This Jan 21, 2013
  • MissVerity rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Super fun premise if you are a fan of mystical realism. The concept of emotion-tasting contrasts the mundane suburban life of an ordinary, passably-functional family. It's sometimes a bit melancholy, which rings true to life for a first-person narrative of a coming-of-age tale of a girl who desires to earn favor & emotional connection w/ her socially awkward older brother. However, there a several different directions in the plot lines, and I had a little trouble envisioning some scenes - enough that I almost quit.

McKayla recommended June 2012

Report This Aug 25, 2012
  • Baybdots rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Did not like this book it was rather weird to me. It is about a girl who eats certain food and then she can feel what other people feel or think. Her brother keep disappear I believe at the end her turned into a chair?

Report This Aug 20, 2012
  • sddepaul rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed the novel idea of this book and was caught up in the character of Rose right away and her development throughout. I never really clearly understood what was going on with her brother and found this subplot was a bit distracting...and this also kept the ending from being satisfying.

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Report This Jun 05, 2013
  • Sounddrive rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Sounddrive thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Report This Jun 24, 2010
  • DanniOcean rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

When she turns nine, Rose Edelstein discovers she has a remarkable gift. In whatever she eats, she can taste the mood of whoever made the food. Unfortunately, what she tastes most often is despair, longing, hurt, or emptiness – so her gift is actually a curse. Only one person believes her, her brother’s brilliant best friend. One person ignores her, her nearly-brilliant brother. Her vibrant mother frets, her distant father placates. As Rose matures, so does her talent, until she can taste individual ingredients, tell where they came from, and even which farm or factory. But always there is the human element in the food that tastes of something sad, and always Rose must mask the nature of her gift by eating pre-packaged junk food. However, when her detached brother begins to disappear for days at a time, Rose begins to realize that she may not be the only person in her family with a peculiar talent, and that hers may not be the most painful. The story is told from Rose’s rather neurotic perspective, but the author uses the unusual convention of no quotation marks to indicate when a character is speaking, so the reader must pay closer attention to the narrative, pay closer attention to who is saying what. But as Rose discovers, being able to taste people’s moods is no more revealing the words they speak, and it certainly gives her no power to prevent or correct the sadness she senses in others. The central character of the first part of the novel is her mother, the climax of the novel involves her brother, but the mystery behind her own talent is solved from an entirely unexpected quarter. With this revelation Rose stops resenting both her gift and herself, and learns to appreciate the uniqueness of both. Funny, heartbreaking and mysterious, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a surreal tale comparable to The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman or The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.

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"If anyone had been crying for any reason, he'd pull out a tissue and pat down our cheeks and say salt was for meat, not faces" Rose - on her father

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