Bender, Aimee. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. New York: Doubleday,
(from the cover) On the eve of her 9th 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 slice. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. Anything can be revealed at any meal.
I enjoyed the book until the end where it seems Bender just pushed the story into an ending. I could believe that Rose tasted the emotions in food. I also could believe her father's fear of hospitals (to finally discover why late in the book) or her mother's constant search for her own happiness. However, I draw the line at her brother's special gift. NO WAY!
I think the idea of tasting the creator's emotions is clever. Perhaps I remember the story of the wedding cake where the sister cries into the batter and the newlyweds are forever cursed (or maybe just the guests are sad?). I thought the idea of Rose tasting the food and knowing exactly where the product came from was a little far fetched, but I tried to read beyond it. This was an interesting read. However, once my suspicions were confirmed about the brother, I couldn't believe the story anymore, and I mostly lost interest in finishing the book (even though I did finish it because there were only a few pages left to read). I know it's fiction, but I'm still disappointed in the ending. I think the story should have gone another way.