The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

On her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein takes a bite out of her mom's homemade lemon cake. On her birthday, however, she is given a gift - or a curse - to be able to taste the emotions of the person through their food. Despite her mother's cheerful attitude, Rose discovers that her mother is unhappy and disappointed, and that the rest of her family is keeping secrets from each other. 

Aimee Bender has a creative style of writing. I was really confused at first because of the way she wrote her dialogues; they're italicized. She also had an original plot. I thought that tasting emotions through taste buds was a brilliant idea! I felt that the book was very disorganized and all over the place. She introduced her mother and father's problems but she didn't elaborate on them. I was left very confused over WHY some things happened in this novel. I also felt the same way about Rose's brother who seemed to be slipping away from reality. Overall, I felt like this book was unfinished and that there were too many details that were missing. 

I would not recommend this book to young readers. I first picked this book up in seventh grade and it was a very difficult read. I don't think the characters in the book are developed well enough for the readers to understand them, and because I couldn't understand these characters, I didn't feel the need to care about what happened to them in the books. I felt really detached from the plot. If I had nothing else to read, I would read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but I didn't feel like it was worth trying to understand Bender's writings. 

Heejeong, 18


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