The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake- Aimee Bender

Another Book Club pick, another fantastic title. It is hard to find a book with a child as the narrator or a story written from a child’s perspective, that is not either too precocious or purposefully disingenuous. This book gets around that hurdle by growing up with the child. Not exactly novel, but somehow still refreshing, just like lemon cake 🙂
Lemon Cake is about the loss of innocence at the tender age of eight and the protagonist’s struggle to cope with it. The crux of the story is what would one do if one could feel other people’s emotions? Would it be as exhilarating as one expects or would it be too much information. Despite the fact that it is about the most dysfunctional family one has ever come across, there is a strange sense of optimism about the book. Whether it is in the protagonist’s search for a semblance of normalcy or in her final acceptance of the inevitable, I am not sure, but at the end of the book I certainly had that feeling of…contentment, for want of a better word.

It is not an exceptional book, not like a Goodman novel or a Kingsolver epic or even a mere Atwood. But it is a good book. More importantly, a well written book. Bender steers a tricky course between the sappy-ness of Hosseini and the disingenuity of Haddon which I find refreshing. There is no trickery like Audrey Niffenegger either. There are elements of bizzare-ness, but it doesn’t feel artificial or let-us-add-something-totally-bonkers-here-just-because-we-can feel either. Altogether it ended the way it should have without any obvious high-handedness by the author.

Me likes, me recommends. You go read.


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