The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents' attention, bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother - her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother - tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.
The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden - her mother's life outside the home, her father's detachment, her brother's clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender's place as "a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language."(San Francisco Chronicle).
©2010 Aimee Bender (P)2010 Random House
"Charming and wistful....[Bender] harness[es] her exquisite, bizarre sensitivity, in this haunting examination" (The Atlantic)
I started listening to this book and at first was very put off by the voice of the author/narrator. I then looked back and read the Audible reviews and found I was not the only one with this initial reaction. Fortunately, my husband encouraged me to 'give it one more commute'. Thankfully I listened to both him and the book for one more day on my trek from Orange County to LA. I soon got hooked, began caring about the characters, the plot and found myself looking forward to getting in my car every day. (Don't tell anyone I said that!) If you have the patience to get beyond the intial slowness of the book, you will be rewarded!
The only reason why I even finished this book was that I was heading out on a 15 hour road trip by myself. The narration is monotone, which makes it difficult to stay engaged. The story, though initially intriguing, veers off in other directions - it honestly felt like it could've made an excellent short story or novella, but there wasn't quite enough there to fill out a novel.
I can't review the whole book because I couldn't finish it. Why don't people do voice checks before they read their own works? It may be a really good book but the decision the author had to read it, probably ruined her chances of this being a literary success.
It dragged. And dragged. And dragged. I think the story line was unique, but there was nothing there to capture me, nothing that made me want to keep listening. Add with that the reader's bland, intonation-less, and grating voice, and I simply couldn't finish.
I listened to this audiobook because it was touted as a great summer read during a review of books on a morning show, but now I do not believe the person speaking about this book ever actually read it. The book appears to have started as a great idea, but never developes and in the end the reader is left with more questions than answers. Possibly, there was a deadline to meet. The naration is also hard to listen to. I feel, professional narators should always be used to read to us.
I agree with others this was by far the worst book i have listened to thus far. The monotone reading along with the dullness of the story left me wondering how this book ever made it through publishing. I also wish i could get a refund. I would not suggest this book to anyone.
Say something about yourself!
Imagine tasting food and having the flavor overwhelmed by the emotions of the preparer. This is the story of a young girl who has this gift (or curse) and the effect it has on her live. It begins when her depressed mother wants her to taste a lemon cake, and each bite is unbearably sad. It is also the more involved tale of a dysfunctional but oddly gifted family. The premise is interesting, but even as fiction becomes very difficult to understand the brother's difficulties. In addition, a reader other than the author may have been able to bring the characters to life, making them more compelling.
I'm so glad I ignored the reviews on this one! I don't give 5/5 very often, but the book really captured my attention and imagination. I found the pace to be perfect for a story about a supposedly ordinary family, and those little absurd surprises kept me turning the pages (so to speak). I enjoy books that are narrated by the authors; it brings you closer to the intentions of the characters. In this case too, the low key narration left a lot for the listener to fill in.
I am listening to this book at the moment and am enjoying it. I'm glad I already downloaded it before reading the discouraging reviews as I'm sure they would have disuaded me from choosing this book which would have been a shame. l have favourite narrators but I also like to have variety of content and narration. Take the opprotunity to preview the narrator and give this book a chance.
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