Customer Reviews for

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

A unique and gripping tale -- Certainly worth a read...

Very interesting plot -- I couldn't put the book down until I found some closure. Bender uses exceptionally elegant language and poetic devices. The story is enthralling, albeit a bit dark and (at times) depressing. This book is one of a kind. A very fast read. The fusi...
Very interesting plot -- I couldn't put the book down until I found some closure. Bender uses exceptionally elegant language and poetic devices. The story is enthralling, albeit a bit dark and (at times) depressing. This book is one of a kind. A very fast read. The fusion of a real-life scenario, whimsical characteristics, and complete fantasy is perhaps a bit overwhelming -- but once again, I couldn't put it down.

posted by TenorMan on June 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

This is very good book to take on vacation. I read it practically in one sitting.

This is an unusual little book which is told in the voice of a nine year old girl with a special talent. Rose can taste the mood and emotions of the people who have prepared the food she eats. It makes it very hard for her to eat food and enjoy it since she feels the em...
This is an unusual little book which is told in the voice of a nine year old girl with a special talent. Rose can taste the mood and emotions of the people who have prepared the food she eats. It makes it very hard for her to eat food and enjoy it since she feels the emotions almost as physical pain.
The book is hard to put it down. You, the reader, want to discover from where this strange gift comes and whether or not it can be controlled. The story takes you through parental relationships, sibling relationships and teenage relationships with all the drama these relationships encompass. It really holds your interest, but, in the end, there are a lot of questions left unanswered.
Although the characters are well developed, they have holes in their history and explanations for particular behaviors fall short of the mark. Also, the paranormal plays a large role in this book, but it is not given enough importance. It is treated almost as an afterthought and yet the book turns on the supernatural capabilities of the characters. Often there are scenes and major events occurring which seem to require deeper exploration but they are passed over as if they are simply commonplace and are largely ignored by the characters. The disappearance of a brother is dismissed casually, as if, this happens all the time and he will reappear. Yet, it is not a casual disappearance. A father's inability to enter a hospital is dismissed as quirkiness when it is far more than that.
Still, I would recommend the book. It is also a tender story about people who are unable to express their feelings in normal ways. They all harbor secrets. In the end, the nine year old child is a young woman who finds herself through trial and error as she works out her family issues and her personal ones. She seems the most well adjusted when the book concludes, as she makes use of her gift and learns to deal with her unusual life successfully. She, above all, seems to understand the people around her as well, and is accepting and forgiving of all their shortcomings.

posted by thewanderingjew on July 20, 2010

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic stories in an understated tone

    At one point Bender describes popular, accomplished girls in a bicycle club as "living in a miraculous Escherian land that offered only downhills." Rose, Walter, Mom, Dad, Grandparents live in a land where they struggle uphill, yearning to take that Escherian path, but at the crest of a hill, when they've hardened their legs into muscular pistons, they soar into the air like ET.

    Bender's understated tone in discussing the most fantastic occurrences lulls the reader into thinking one way until she almost get whiplash at the turns. I think I may have to read everything Bender writes, distinctive punctuation and all.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Truly the best read in a long time for me

    I found the characters and overall story line to be quite brilliant. Although I did want more explanation on Rose's brothers gift, it was still enough explanation to get me to grasp it all and love it. It is also written extremely well. Great combinations of fantasy, thrill and emotion to carry you through the whole book. Although I did not find a beginning, middle and end with this book that is another reason why I loved it, it keeps you guessing the entire time. A must read for sure!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    What a lovely book!

    What a lovely book! The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is the story of Rose Edelstein, a young girl who can taste people's feelings in the food they cook. As she struggles to come to terms with her magical skill she reaches out to the people around her - her mother whose hollowness taints family dinners, her silent and mysterious brother, his golden, sparkling, genius friend, and her befuddled, oblivious dad.

    Aimee Bender has an amazing ability to create intriguing and charming characters and then turn them loose to see what happens. It feels like the people in this book are so genuine and real, their actions so true to who they are, that they must have written they story themselves. Like the magical abilities possessed by the Edelsteins, it is often hard to pin down exactly what is happening and where the book is going. Yet the feelings evoked by her unique writing style are delightful. Reading this book was truly a magical experience! I will never taste food in the same way again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2010

    This beautifully told story will grab you from the beginning, and not let you go!

    To describe a story like this is almost impossible. I'll try to give it my best shot. We see a little girl, Rose, of nine, having her world turned upside down, as she comes to find she has a gift. Or is it a power, or curse? All depending how she comes to see it; to see within another's emotions, clearer than they, themselves, can, and with details that only she knows how to interpret. How does she keep this to herself? What does it do to her, and to her family, over time? We find out.

    Her family: Mother, father, brother, all have their secrets, and as she tastes her mother's food, she starts finding those secrets; They start to come to the surface. She has a grandmother who she's never seen, but sends strange gifts to the family. What do we learn from this reclusive grandmother, by way of these strange gifts? We learn about the family. Do we learn about ourselves in this process? That's left up to you.

    We see family photographs, where everyone interprets their settings as something different. We find more stories within stories, where history comes to us by way of the interpreter. Rose learns who these people are: Her mother, father, and brother. Rose learns about herself, as she grows within this family.

    This writer, Aimee Bender, takes us into the world of part science; part psychology, and part fairytale....and the remaining part is something so surreal, as to make you hold your breath, suspend those beliefs, and enter that world of sadness Rose finds, which makes you want to believe, or cry, or smile, as these hidden secrets start to surface...we're propelled through space, without realizing when, or if, we've taken that next breath.

    I literally couldn't sit this book down, until I came to the end. And when you come to the end, you know it's just the beginning. Aimee Bender is a fantastical, lyrical, interpretive writer. Her details catch you off guard, in a beautiful way; putting those details together, in her own uniqueness, will keep you spellbound.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a wonderful read .

    the orginality that exerts from this read is sensational. It truly does make you wonder if you can truly love someone if you know too much about them. For a nine year old that has to deal with everything thats on her plate she handles everything with a mature outlook.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    Savoring Every Word!

    I cannot wait to find out how this story ends - yet I want it to last forever. The story is engaging, as are the characters and the style. I am very glad I chose to read this.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Sad and deep, magical and extraordinary.

    This book is inside me now, and I'm somehow different for having read it.

    Somewhere between the magical fantasy of Sarah Addison Allen, and the magical sadness of Alice Hoffman, is Aimee Bender's magical book. A book about Rose, a girl who discovers, unexpectedly and unwanted, her ability to taste people's emotions in food. Alone and bewildered she embarks on a journey to explore her talent, a journey which often results in overwhelming sensations, uncovered secrets, and unprecedented outcomes.

    We move with Rose as she learns of her talent, of her family's secrets, and of the world surrounding her. She's not a normal girl, she's very much alone. She has friends, but she's the one on the edge of the group, the one who could be there or not, and not many people would notice the difference. We are with her as she desperately tries to form a connection with her brother Joseph. But Joseph is also a loner, with only one friend, and he's full of books and angst and something unexplained.

    The books transitions frequently, starting with Rose's difficult younger years trying to find food she can eat that won't make her sick with depression or anger. We go through the years of issues with her parents, her father stoic, her mother yearning. We spend much time with Joseph and his story becomes so overwhelmingly sad it makes my heart hurt. We grow with Rose, and find her older as she discovers a path she can take toward a future that will make her happy. A path she tremulously sets out on, an experiment of self.

    This is not a story with a beginning-middle-end type of plot. There is a beginning, and then the beginning just keeps on being. Every part has a newness to it, an unfounded, unexplored, beautifully untouched set of words that pulls you in and takes you. Like food to Rose, this book leaves me with an unexplained lingering of sadness. Light and innocent sadness. Sadness for no reason, but beautiful and untouchable.

    Words like "amazing" and "fabulous" are too patronizingly cliché for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. At all times charmingly funny and tragic, it just is what it is; something you should read, something that starts out different and takes a bit of getting used to, and then finishes like a ghost of words, whispered away on a breeze, leaving you wondering.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    You Love ME?: OC fic Stormflight X Graypelt

    Graypelt POV: <br>I lay under the nettle bushes in the ShadowClan camp, eating a crow deep in thought. Stormflight suddenly pads up to me, his golden eyes bright. "Hey Graypelt. Hawkstar said to go on patrol." I jump up. "Okay." I smile and we walk out, my crow forgotten. I noticed Stormflight kept slowing and examining me, I didn't question it for a while but then looked at him. "Is my fur changing colors?" I demand. "Huh? Oh! No! I was just... You have this piece of fur that's sticking up." He pads closer and licks my shoulder fur I laughed and then froze as he moved up to my neck. "Stormflight? What are you doing?" I ask. "Well... I guess you would find out sooner or later. I kind of... Can you sit please?" He asks, nervously shifting his paws. I purr in amusement and sit, my mint green eyes curious. "Well I kind of... Love you." He says. "Me?" I ask incrediously. "You love ME?" "Is it that strange?" Stormflight asks quietly, looking at his paws. "No, I love you too actually. I just never... I thought you were straight. I mean as apprentices you were teased for your white paw but I always thought it was just cute." I smile. "I... I lust for you too. I even dream of you. Of loving you, making sweet tender love to you." He says. I blush and stare at him in utter shock and then lick his muzzle. "I won't judge you. I have felt lustful for you too. Please, Stormflight, satisfy us both." I drop into a mating crouch, rump in the air. He gazed at me in astonishment and then mounted me, he tomhood already unsheathed and hardening. My eyes widened, it easily four inches long and an inch or two thick and boy was it barbed. He rubbed his already pre cu<__>mming member around my tailhole and I tensed and then relaxed my tail hole as much as I could and he entered me, slowly but painfully and I sunk my claws into the ground. He pulled out until just the head was inside me and then rammed in harder, pushing his long di<__>ck all the way inside me, I felt something brush my dripping co<__>an looked to see his tail stroking it, his tail snaed around to play with and squeeze my ball sack. I grouned and pushed back and then his tail circled my member an I thrust forward we began a rythym and I was moaning lustfully. "Oh Stormflight... You are so huge!" I groaned and he purred, licking my ear, his hips bucked wildy and he insem<__>inated my tail hole. I came all over his tail and rolled onto my back as he pulled out he lowered himself so we were belly to belly and brushed our peni<__>ses together lightly, we both moaned. I bucked up, rubbing them again I flipped us over and began rocking back and forth, rubbing our tomhoods together lightly but with a growing intensity. Stormflight hissed with pleasure and thrust against my tomhood I picked up the pace and licked at his throt and chest, bucking my hips in pleasure the scent of blood reached my nose but I ignored it, closing my eyes in bliss. I rubbed much faster and harder now, each touch of our skin mashing together sent a spark up my pen<__>is and spine. I bit his collarbone and pistoned my hips faster as I squirted on his belly he on mine. I then tenderly licked the small wound I made. We fell asleep belly to belly in eachother's arms, tail and members entwined.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

    You know a book was good when you're still thinking about it a week after you finish it. For me, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake was one of those books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    Fxvbv

    Cbx

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    My kind of book...

    Couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Quite unique. I wish I wrote it!

    Quite unique. I wish I wrote it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Leah

    Np.....its happens to all of us atleast once a week lol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Chris

    Isnt sure what to do

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Cali

    Gtgtb night

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Loved it!

    I was very pleased with the unique premise of this story. I found myself wishing I could experience her ability for just one day. The characters were well written, although I would have liked more info on the lead character's brother and perhaps what his ability may have been. Overall, it is in my top ten!

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    This book was really a great and different read. No, there were

    This book was really a great and different read. No, there were no vampires in it. Nor werewolves, nor zombies. I think this book got lower ratings because it wasn't the next Twilight novel.

    The real story is not that the girl can taste people's emotions through food. It's that that is her one way of understanding the complex situations life sometimes throws our way. It's about how we deal with learning about the sadness of the people we love most, and what we do to help, even if we sometimes wish we knew less. Sometimes even our own emotions in the same scenarios scare us so much, we can scarcely deal with those of others. That's why the main character Rose, doesn't just wish she could eat processed food so she could avoid the discoveries she can make about other people through what is handmade, she also has a fear of cooking her own food and acknowledging her own emotions.

    There is a slight lack of punctuation. All I could see was an absence of quotation marks. But that's not the point. You might have to take a little more time but it's worth it. Give this book a shot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Give it a chance!

    I loved this book! A lot of fun and heartfelt moments!

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    doesn't live up to potential

    I wanted to like this book. I really did. I mean, it has lemon cake in the title. Automatic win, right? Unfortunately the author starts out with an interesting premise but doesn't do much with it.

    When Rose turns 9, she suddenly finds herself with the ability to taste the emotions of the person who made the food. Her first discovery is the unbearable loneliness of her mother. Young Rose doesn't know what to make of her new skill and takes to eating processed junk food. As time goes on, she shares her ability with her brother and his friend George. After a few experiments with her new power, the author largely leaves it behind and delves into other aspects of Rose's family dynamic.

    The issue of her abilities emerges again some years later when Rose tastes in her mother's cooking, the beginnings of an affair. Instead of it being some kind of traumatic or emotional discovery, Rose takes it calmly and is, in fact, glad that her mother now has someone else to lavish her baked goods on as it saves her from having to taste her mother's emotions. This part bothered me because I just felt like she should have had a bigger reaction to her mother having an affair. Even years later, when she tells her mother she's known all along, it's with a cold calmness and air of indifference.

    Then there's her brother, Joe, who has a special ability of his own. This part is a bit creepy. After years of odd behavior, Rose finally figures out what Joe has been up to. In the end, she’s the only one who knows and she decides to keep his secret. We never find out much more about his abilities or what they mean. The fact that it’s left open ended is frustrating. We also find out that Rose's grandfather had an amazing ability as well. Seems like these weird powers run in the family. Because of her grandfather, Rose's dad barely bats an eye when he finds out about her food tasting ability. He doesn't seem to make the connection with her fit at the hospital years before or her affinity for processed foods. He understands that it makes her life difficult but he doesn't probe too much. And then we find out that he thinks he might have a skill, too, but that it has to take place in a hospital. So he has avoided hospitals all his life, even going so far as to stand in the parking lot during his children's births and illnesses. While I understand his position, seeing how hard his father's life with his skill was, I also find it extremely selfish that he might be able to help people and consciously chose not to even try.

    Unfortunately I found The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake to be an unsatisfying read.Though there were some interesting parts, the characters and premise were never fully developed and left too much unresolved.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!! Couldn't put it down

    On Roses ninth birthday she discovered her remarkable talent. She was able to taste the emotions in the food she would eat. Rose never quite enjoyed her gift. She found out things she never wanted to know about people, like for her Mother, Rose found out her Mom was having an affair from her mashed potatoes and roast beef dinner. She also tasted how disconnected her father was from his family from his Mac and cheese dinner. And also how her brother, Joe, hated the world from his buttered toast. Rose lived with the confusion of knowing too much, about somebody you care immensely for, but to try to see past the issues. This was the major theme through out the novel because in every chapter she would find out new details of her family¿s secrets, but she loved them tremendously so she would find ways to see past them. I loved how original this book was. It was an extremely unique and creative book while still being plausible. The text was very witty and humorous while still getting the main points across. I did not enjoy not knowing what they went off to do or become at the end. Was she able to live a happy life being able to taste emotions in food? Would her brother ever come back to be part of society? I was curious about how they would live the rest of their lives. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It¿s hard to put this book down because this topic isn¿t over used unlike many others.

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