The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

This was big last year and when I saw it on my mom’s bookshelf she happily lent it to me for my vacation reading.  You might think the word “Sadness” in the title would have not made me expect a cheerful happy quirky book, but alas, this was not the case. And so I was disappointed because that’s what I expected. After all, the premise, that a girl can taste in food what the person who made it is feeling, is so quirky and fun.  Unfortunately, it really is a terrible horrible burden that deeply affects her life.  She can taste her parents secrets and unhappiness, and even food prepared by others is tinged with the taste of every human and animal emotion.  It really is horrible for her.  This is definitely a story about her family, though–her unhappy parents, her brother the misfit genius, and her own awkward role in the family.  Her brother’s secret experiments seemed a bit awkward in the book-I suppose because I expected the protagonist’s special ability to be like those in books by Sarah Addison Allen-uncomfortable at times, but fitting in perfectly to regular life.  The addition of her brother’s weirdness (what’s going on? where does he disappear to?) made it seem like it was going to verge into science fiction territory.

Nicely written, but I didn’t love it.


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