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THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE By: Aimee Bender July 11, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     Aimee Bender is a favored author of the Lycan Librarian. She writes magical pieces with fantastic and extraordinary elements. But her other works have been pumped with a joy that is lacking in this work, and this librarian worries that perhaps this book was written during a sad period in the author’s life. Then again, a bout of depression may be the very thing that gave Ms. Bender the idea for this novel.

     When Rose bites into the lemon cake with chocolate frosting that her mother made for her ninth birthday, she tastes a hollowness that she doesn’t know how to interpret. As time goes on, she learns many of her favorite foods don’t taste quite right, and finally realizes that she has somehow acquired the ability to actually taste the emotions of the person who made whatever food she is eating. Only factory produced food is free of the overpowering taste of sadness, loneliness, anger, fatigue, wistfulness, haste or melancholy. It turns out, odd talents run in Rose’s family, but nothing more will be said of that to prevent spoiling the book for those of you who will read it.

     While this selection was a fast and somewhat enjoyable read, it did not quite live up to the author’s other fabulous titles. Like the lemon cake Rose’s mother made for her, there is a hollowness within the pages that makes this reader long for that missing taste of  enchantment which she had so anxiously anticipated from one of Bender’s novels.

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