Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

A perfume. You wear it during a time that becomes memorable to you, whether in a foul or sweet way. Your sense of smell automatically attaches that particular scent to that memory.

If that memory was good, then you'll wear the aroma of perfume, constantly wanting to lose yourself in reminiscence. If, however, that memory was bad, then the aroma turns pungent, odorous, on the edge of or right on the verge of the intolerance, to your nose. You, in turn, toss it or give it away.

Such is the miraculous power of the human senses!

Imagine being able to taste a particular food and automatically, sense the feeling of the cook, whose hands molded only to satisfy your cravings.

If the cook was angry at the time of cooking, you taste the anger in his/her creation; if the cook was rushing, you taste the haste in the food.

That is exactly the psychic ability, so intriguing, but annoying to the protagonist, Rose, of Aimee Bender's fourth novel, a work of YA Fiction, 'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.'

An innovative work of fiction, 'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake' takes the reader on a young girl's quest to decipher her mother's feelings, which she tastes everyday in her mother's cooking.

It all begins with Rose, eating her mother's lemon cake. She tasted an ambiguous sadness in the cake. Despite her mother's assurance that there is nothing wrong with her...that she is happy, Rose cannot avoid the hollowness in her mother's eyes. She decides to no longer comment on her mother's cooking/baking...to simply swallow down her mother's feelings and attempt to ignore the horrible taste of them. Even more, Rose tries to avoid eating her mother's meals, at times.

Why is her mother so sad? Can Rose ever scrape the taste of any cook's (not just her mother's) emotions off her tongue?

Most of all, this beautifully-written, full of extraordinary metaphors, work of YA fiction describes a protagonist's connection to her family or the lack thereof. Rose's new-found psychic ability encourages her to not only try to understand her mother, but to also be more open with her father and break through her child-prodigy-of-a-brother's sternness.

'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake' is a quirky and entertaining read and rightfully-so as it is brilliantly-written.

Aimee Bender


  1. That's an amazing ability!! I so want to read this book. And what a unique way for a mother and daughter to come to understand each other. Thanks for the review!

  2. No problem. I'm glad I could help.