Sunday, July 25, 2010

THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE PARTICULAR SADNESS
OF LEMON CAKE

BY AIMEE BENDER

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Aimee Bender is the author of four books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures (2005) which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010) which is soon to be out, and so far made a couple people cry. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper's, Tin House, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, and many more places, as well as heard on PRI's This American Life and Selected Shorts. She's received two Pushcart prizes, and was nominated for the TipTree award in 2005, and the Shirley Jackson short story award in 2010. Her fiction has been translated into ten languages. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at USC.


MY REVIEW:

It is no wonder that Aimee Bender’s THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE is a huge summer hit! The title immediately drew me with my sweet tooth but then kept my attention even though it wasn’t about baking. As I began to read about the story's main idea centering around a young woman who can tell other people's true feelings by tasting the food that they have prepared, I was intrigued. At first, I thought what a gift she has but as I read, I realized that perhaps this was more of a curse at least until she learned to control it to her advantage.

The story opens as Rose Edelstein is nine-years-old living in Los Angeles with her somewhat detached father, who is however an amiable lawyer; her mother who is outwardly loving, but empty inside; and her 14 year-old genius brother Joseph, who just can’t turn that talent into any kind of success academically. Rose also has a grandmother from her mother’s side who lives in Washington State and is probably the strangest of them all. On the day she tastes her mother’s lemon cake with the chocolate icing made especially for her birthday, Rose realizes that food that she eats is “full of feelings”. The food reveals emotions of the person who prepared the food. As Rose begins to try to understand what all this means, she only confides in her brother Joseph and his best friend George.

George takes Rose on like some kind of experiment and begins to test what she can do. He calls her a “magic food psychic” and for a while, Rose adores him. George takes her to places to taste things such as the bakery they visit where she finds “angry” chocolate chip cookies and a ham and cheese sandwich that is “yelling”. It is hard to even imagine what Rose is experiencing especially since food to most of us always has some kind of emotion attached by eating it, and to think that our feelings could be interpreted by someone like Rose is bizarre and unnerving.

Rose tries to use this “gift” to try to hold her family together even after her mother, for instance starts a new career going to school for carpentry but winds up having an affair with her leader, which of course Rose can tell by tasting. When Joseph goes away to college and starts to disappear gradually from their lives no matter how hard his mother tries to hold on to him, the family really falls apart. Rose works hard to find her own way in life and learn to live with her ability. Bender has written a gentle, caring story with tremendous compassion as we find Rose near the end of the book, in her twenties, finally learning to use her talent in a rewarding way. This is an odd book but in a good way and one that was really hard to put down. It caught my attention right away and has stayed with me since I finished it.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO JUDY AND THE FINE PEOPLE
AT RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING, I HAVE
TWO COPIES OF THIS AMAZING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE DESCRIPTION AND REVIEW OF "THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE" AND WHY YOU WANT TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR LINK; YOU MAY TWEET AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WOULD LIKE BUT YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EACH TIME YOU TWEET

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE AND LEAVE ME YOUR LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY: READ SOME OF THE PRAISE AND COMMENTS MADE ABOUT THIS BOOK BY REVIEWERS ON THE RANDOM HOUSE WEBSITE BY GOING HERE. COME BACK AND NAME ONE OF THE PEOPLE/PUBLICATIONS WHO PRAISED THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ANOTHER CURRENT GIVEAWAY YOU HAVE ENTERED FROM MY BLOG. PLEASE ONLY CHOOSE ONE GIVEAWAY TO ENTER ABOUT THIS TIME


GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, AUGUST 10!


121 comments:

Teresa said...

I've heard several good reviews on this one and would like to read it for myself. I am a GFC follower.

teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad to see you enjoyed this since it's in my TBR pile. No need to enter me.

suburban prep said...

I have heard nothing but good comments about the book. It is intriguing that a person can feel emotions through food.
msgb245 at gmail dot com

suburban prep said...

I also entered the Cupcake book giveaway.
msgb245 at gmail dot com

suburban prep said...

“To curl up with an Aimee Bender story is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place” —Entertainment Weekly

msgb245 at gmail dot ocm

Linda Kish said...

I would hate to know what people were feeling. I think it would be very hard to deal with. You can't fix everything no matter how much you might want to.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I entered the giveaway for The Search

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

San Francisco Chronicle calls it a transformative narrative

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Kim said...

this book has been reviewed by SO many current magazines.. I have wanted to read it for some time!

Colleen Turner said...

I have never heard anything like this book before! It sounds just fascinating and I would love to read it!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I loved how the Los Angeles Times states: "Bender is the master of quiet hysteria"....very interesting concept!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I entered the Take Hachette To The Beach giveaway.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

+4 swagbucks!
candc320@gmail.com

Amy said...

This is a unigue story and one that tugs at my heartstrings because a little girl is struggling valiantly to keep her family together. Finding herself with a strange, new "talent" she tries to put it to use with her goal in mind although I expect as with many new abilities there is a learning curve. I am anxious to know how things turn out for Rose.

Thank you for a great review that totally piqued my interest in this different story!

~ Amy
Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

I tweeted:
http://twitter.com/Amestir/status/19517900928


Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times praised Aimee Bender's new novel.


Aimala127@gmail.com

StephTheBookworm said...

I want to read this because I have heard so much about it and want to see what it is all about!

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

StephTheBookworm said...

I entered Bitch is The New Black.

Alyce said...

I love the idea of someone being able to see feelings in food. This one sounds great!

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

DarcyO said...

The book's premise is definitely intriguing. What a surprise to be honing in on others' feelings through food. I can see how it could be a curse. I'd love to read this one.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DarcyO said...

There were a lot of good reviews, including one from the Star Tribune.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

traveler said...

Thanks for this giveaway. I am captivated with this uniquenovel and the premise. It sounds captivating. sau;bleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

The Washington Post gave this a great review. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

The Beach Giveaway I entered. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

misskallie2000 said...

This may be duplicate.. Was interupted..Pls delete if dup..

tweet
http://twitter.com/misskallie2000/status/19522318251

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Entered gentleman-always-remembers- giveway

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

- Marybeth I. said...

I acutally saw this reviewed somewhere else and added it to my amazon.com wish list. I think it sounds like an interesting story. I follow also

misaacmom at gmail dot com

- Marybeth I. said...

new York Times reviewed and praised

misaacmom at gmail dot com

- Marybeth I. said...

entered the beach five giveaway
misaacmom at gmail dot com

Pamela Keener said...

What an interesting premise. I don't think I would want to know tne food preparers thoughts but an intriguing concept.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

sticks with the reader long past the final page....moments of quiet brilliance"--Wisconsin State Journal

Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I entered Scout, Atticus & Boo & To Kill A Mockingbird giveaway.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

+4 Swagbucks
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

petite said...

This story sounds lovely and emotional as well as completely different. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

The Denver Post review was very positive. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I entered the To Kill a mockingbird giveaway. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

rubynreba said...

I would like to read this because it sounds so interesting that she could tell peoples feelings by the food they prepare.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

The New York Observer commented
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I entered Crazy For Love giveaway.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Lisa R said...

This sounds like the type of book that you will think about for some time after finishing.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

Lisa R said...

Entered WHAT'S NEW, CUPCAKE GIVEAWAY

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

Lisa R said...

--Portland Oregonian's comment
"Plenty of plot surprise,"
would be enough to make me take a 2nd look


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

Tore said...

I am a follower. I heard good reviews also but I would like to read it for myself. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Margie said...

I have read some good reviews of this book. I'd like to see how the premise is handled; it sounds like it is done very believably.
This looks like a good family drama.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The New York Observer says....
Dreamy....Playful prose....one of the most pleasant books we've read all year"
mtakala AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

I entered the To Kill a Mockingbird giveaway.
mtakala AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

+5 Swag
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

Hi! Loyal follower here. I have heard a lot about this book. I really want to read it. The storyline interests me and I like that they are centering it around food. Thank you for a wonderful giveaway! :)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi! I entered "The Search" giveaway as well. :)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Laura said...

I have seen several great reviews of this book and would love to read it. I'm a follower.
Laura
laura.leahj@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I've heard so much about this book and the premise is unique and fascinating.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

People Magazine praised this book.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Benita said...

I've seen this book on several blogs now and am totally intrigued. Your review makes me want to read it all the more.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

The Denver Post praised this book.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

I entered Cheap Cabernet.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie L said...

Thanks for your review of this book. I was already interested in reading it, now I want to even more. I think the idea of the girl being able to taste other people's emotions is fascinating.
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie L said...

The Christian Science Monitor said it is "A funny, haunting, hurting, coming-of-age story".
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie L said...

I also entered the Take Hachette to the Beach giveaway.
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

holdenj said...

I've seen great reviews of this book and I find the whole idea of her sense of smell being so fine-tuned very interesting!
Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the I hate to cook cookbook giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynn said...

This sounds like a very interesting & unique book. Your review makes me want to read it! I want to win this book so I can see what happens with Rose. Thanks!

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Lynn said...

The Denver Post praised this book:
""Original and revealing....unique style--part magic, part clean prose."

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Lynn said...

Tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/19617245655

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

allisonsbj3 said...

This book sounds really interesting! I can't wait to read it!

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynn said...

Tweet:

http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/19680800371

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Becca said...

It was the title that first caught my attention but the idea is an interesting one to me and I really want to know how she figures out how to use her 'gift'.

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Becca said...

Tweet!

http://twitter.com/Beckster000/status/19681424095

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Erika Lynn said...

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE DESCRIPTION AND REVIEW OF "THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE" AND WHY YOU WANT TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK

I think it sounds great and I have only read great reviews so of course I want to read it

sportsDOTerikalynnATgmailDOTcom

Erika Lynn said...

sportsDOTerikalynnATgmailDOTcom

+1 MORE ENTRY: TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR LINK; YOU MAY TWEET AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WOULD LIKE BUT YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EACH TIME YOU TWEET

http://twitter.com/Erika_Lynn_C/status/19682279137

Erika Lynn said...

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ANOTHER CURRENT GIVEAWAY YOU HAVE ENTERED FROM MY BLOG. PLEASE ONLY CHOOSE ONE GIVEAWAY TO ENTER ABOUT THIS TIME
Bitch is the New Black

sportsDOTerikalynnATgmailDOTcom

Becca said...

I blogged here:

http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2010/07/sad-cake.html

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Debbie said...

I read about this in Book Page and wanted it immediately! I love the concept of being able to ascertain emotions through the food that someone has make.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

Debbie said...

I entered the I Hate To Cook giveaway.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

Amy said...

I entered your giveaway for "To Kill A Mockingbird"


Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

I tweeted:

http://twitter.com/Amestir/status/19736704097


Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Becca said...

I entered the Disappearing Spoon giveaway.

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Becca said...

The Courier-Journal said "[Bender] writes sentences that make the senses take flight....wonderfully strange....dazzling and remarkably precise, both sensual and exacting....makes reality itself magical"

Sounds wonderful
thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/19764314186
lynnx512 at gmail dot com

LAMusing said...

I like d that you called it "odd" but in a good way :) I enjoy fiction that surprises me in some way, that is unpredictable. That's why I'd like to read this.

adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

LAMusing said...

I entered Dead in The Family

adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

LAMusing said...

The Atlantic called it "charming and wistful..."

adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/19855639079

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Christine H said...

+4swag chirth7@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

+4swag shundelt@yahoo.com

Limon de Campo said...

Sounds like an interesting book with the magical realism angle. Also heard about it on Books on the Nighstand.

chrisharrell20 at yahoo dot com

Christy said...

Sounds interesting, especially with the magical realism angle. Also heard about this on Books on the Nighstand.

chrisharrell20 at yahoo dot com

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/20004868194

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/20089906362

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Dakota said...

I'm glad the book kept your attention from beginning to end as you mentioned in your review. I like how this book has a unique storyline. Who would have thought up that eating someones food allows you to know what they are feeling and their thoughts. This book sounds like a fun read.
dakotasky55 at gmail dot com

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/20231738753

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Laurie said...

The commentary and review made me really want to read the book. I am into inspirational books and this one fits the bill. Thanks! 006andaHalf

laurielamb@comcast.net

Laurie said...

I also entered the "Five Books to Read on the Beach" Book Giveaway from Hachette Book Group. Thanks again! 006andaHalf

laurielamb@comcast.net

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/20428957569

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Lynn said...

Daily tweet:
http://twitter.com/livelovelynn/status/20484092982

lynnx512 at gmail dot com

Jolee said...

To be able to taste emotions. Wow. Fascinating and scary premise. joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net

Jolee said...

Entered Curtains too.

Shirley said...

+5swag shundelt@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

+5swag chirth7@yahoo.com

Jeff said...

+5swag jeff72768@yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

I think this would be a great pick for my book club. Please enter me, thanks.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

degood said...

I have read a few reviews about this book and it seems like the kind of book I would enjoy. Your review made me add it to my fall reading list!

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

The Washington Post praised this book according to the website.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

I entered the Crazy For Love giveaway.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Wendi P said...

I, too, was intrigued my the title but more so by the storyline after reading your review. Thanks!

parodi821 at yahoo dot com

Wendi P said...

The SF Chronicle and O Magazine both had great praise for this book.

parodi821 at yahoo dot com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

I think the description sounds very interesting. I would love to know how a 9 year old would react to such a "magical gift".

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

Tweeted

https://twitter.com/lovemy2doggies/status/20728690502

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

I entered your Take Hatchette to the beach giveaway.

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

The New York Observer praised this book.

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

Christine H said...

I read your review it sounds better than the cover lead on. I hope I win!!

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

https://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/20782809909

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100000641625482&v=wall&story_fbid=150866654927148&ref=mf posted on facebook

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/chirth7/review/44702928/

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

The Washington Post
chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK GIVEAWAY

chirth7@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

https://twitter.com/Grandmamaof10/status/20784278850

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100001087052807&v=wall&story_fbid=141519742546620&ref=mf

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/shundelt45/review/44703728/

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&authorID=540593519&messageID=6678392249&hash

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

Los Angeles Times

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

entered: BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK GIVEAWAY shundelt@yahoo.com

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