Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake



Aimee Bender
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Windmill Books, 2011

The story of Rosie Edelstein and her family begins when the girl at the age of nine opens a possibility to feel during the meal the feelings and emotions of a person who prepared the food. Throughout the novel we will go the way with Rosie aged nine to twenty-two years old Rosie.

An unexpected gift (or vice versa, the curse) appears when Rosie eats a piece of lemon cake, prepared by her mother. In the cake the girl feels emptiness and desire to be loved. Rosie's mother works in the office, but after a while finds a job in the studio for the production of designer furniture. Rosie's father is a decent family man. A favorite in the family is brother of Rosie, Joseph. Joseph is a good student, steeped in science, but he speaks almost no one, he does not have friends, sometimes even the mother has to ask him to go for a walk.

Rosie is initially discouraged by her new feelings; she can not understand what it is. Food becomes her uncomfortable. The girl tries to explain something to the parents - something wrong with the food - but they blamed on the strangeness of her imagination. Rosie also explaines about the gift to best (and only) friend of Joseph George and George promises to help her.

This is a family story with elements of fantasy, fairy tale and satire on modern society leaves a pleasant aftertaste. Fantastic premise - an opportunity to feel the feelings of the people through food - in general is small and not too original, but the whole story is written so deeply, and the plot is built almost perfectly that delight quickens your breath. The book is successful because of unique style of the author, who managed to create a volumetric image of Rosie. The girl sees the world with naïve look, uncomplicated with adult problems and prejudices. Suddenly awakened gift plunges Rosie into the world of before unknown feelings and emotions. It’s interesting as the way a child sees her family from within, as the daughter notices the characters of their parents, as it reasonably relates to family problems - the gift of a great deal had taught her. «The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake» is also a book in a special genre called "freak family." Here is the ability of each family member, but not all of them open in their entirety. Rosie's grandfather knew people through the smells - and walked with a clothespin on his nose. Rosie's father had never been in the hospital, because he's afraid to go there: his gift has something to do with medicine, but the father does not want his ability to open. Joseph literally merges with the furniture and has gone forever from this world.

Bender saturated her novel with feelings, so it is impossible to remain indifferent to Rosie and her family. In the second half of the book, however, the gift of Rosie goes by the wayside, and even looks like excess. Bender concludes that even feelings in the world today will eventually be expressed in material goods. People are so baked onto the world of things that, if some kind of strange things appear, it knocks them out of the material world, they are lost and do not know how to behave. For example, Rosie's father is afraid to open his gift, because a gift can prevent him from working and earning money. Rosie's mother does not receive warmth and love in the family, and she more and more time spends creating things.

It's really sad book, you’re feeling like you’ve eaten a piece of lemon cake, cooked by Rosie’s mother.

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