This was an odd book. Not bad really, but definitely strange. It used magical realism, kind of in the same tone as Sarah Addison Allen's books, but with more of a sad underbelly.
a normal girl, that is until her ninth birthday, where upon taking a
bite of the chocolate lemon cake her mom has baked for her, she can feel
all of her mom's emotions. As she struggles through eating anything
her mom makes, she discovers that this power is not only limited to her
mom's cooking, but every food she eats. Over the years she becomes
precise enough to know where the ingredients came from and even how the
person picking the vegetables or fruit was feeling. And her brother,
well he has a secret all his own that Rose has to cope with.
Rose was the only normal one in the family, if you can call her
"normal" with her abilities. I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck with
such a dreadful curse as she had, nothing was a secret and some of it
was very tough for her to cope with. Her mother was loving but selfish
and seemed to be very flighty. Her brother was distant and strange, and
her father just seemed to tune out of everything. Rose didn't really
have anyone she could turn to except her brother's friend George, who
was much older and not around much. It just seemed like a very lonely
life for her, even further compounded by having to taste emotions every
time she ate. But even despite that I just didn't feel that connected
to her as a character, or any of the characters for that matter.
plot was strange. I enjoyed the concept of Rose's ability and her
brother's secret even though I didn't understand the point of it like I
did Rose's. The book read at a good pace and although several years
passed in it, I didn't feel rushed. What I didn't enjoy so much was the
lack of punctuation when it came to the characters speaking. There are
no quotation marks anywhere and it makes it difficult to determine when
someone is speaking versus when they are just thinking. I know it's
probably supposed to be edgy or something, but I just found it
annoying. Otherwise the writing was descriptive and it did evoke
emotion, but it was a chore to actually sift through to get that.
can't say that Bender is as good as Allen when it comes to magical
realism, but she does have some unique ideas. And if you like funky,
this book definitely fits under that category.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake