The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

DSC09488.JPGI was recommended this book over a year ago by a lovely student called Rosie in my class at school. The main character is also named Rosie! It’s a beautiful read and narrated well. I am fussy about narration for audio books so believe me when I say it’s a good one! I also like that it was narrated by the author and was still great ( I find it awkward when the author does a bad job of narrating their own book).

Rosie starts tasting things that shouldn’t be detectable in food flavours. Emptiness. Love. Tiredness. It makes no sense and isn’t something she can explain to adults, or even her friends. The only person who believes her is her brother’s friend George, who she clearly idolises and adores.

The story is about family, love, and the things that cannot be explained or spoken about. It’s a fascinating story and one that, despite not being a particularly happy narrative, is heart-warming and sweet with moments of humour woven in. The mystery of her strange ability and her mysterious brother and his vanishing, and the wish for romance with George all add to the nuance of a strange tale.

It is a coming of age story and moves seamlessly from the innocence of a nine year old girl troubled by something strange in a slice of lemon cake, to that of a sophisticated young woman who has grown into her gift and discovered things none would think possible.

An idea I find fascinating in the novel is that abilities which are special can often be more of a curse than a blessing. Rosie can taste food in an incredible way and has insights as a result that many would wish for – however the impact on her day to day life and well being is enormous!  It reminds me of a fairy tale where the wishes always come with a catch and magic always has a high price.

One of the things that was nice about listening to it was that my hubby Pete was listening in too and every so often he’d crack up at something he’d heard. And at different times I’d be laughing. I suppose it’s an insight into the way we all react differently to stories. I am a big fan of this book and I suspect I will be buying it as a gift for various loved ones! Someone tell Rosie thanks for me!

My rating is 4.5/5!



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