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.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” ( San Francisco Chronicle ).
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake|
|Release Date: 06-01-2010|
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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
a warm spring day in the flatlands near Hollywood, a light
breeze moving east from the ocean and stirring the black- eyed
pansy petals newly planted in our flower boxes.
My mother was home, baking me a cake. When I tripped up
the walkway, she opened the front door before I could knock.
How about a practice round? she said, leaning past the door
frame. She pulled me in for a hello hug, pressing me close to my
favorite of her aprons, the worn cotton one trimmed in sketches
of twinned red cherries.
On the kitchen counter, she’d set out the ingredients: Flour
bag, sugar box, two brown eggs nestled in the grooves between
tiles. A yellow block of butter blurring at the edges. A shallow
glass bowl of lemon peel. I toured the row. This was the week of
my ninth birthday, and it had been a long day at school of cursive
lessons, which I hated, and playground yelling about point
scoring, and the sunlit kitchen and my warm- eyed mother were
welcome arms, open. I dipped a finger into the wax baggie of
brown- sugar crystals, murmured yes, please, yes.
She said there was about an hour to go, so I pulled out my
spelling booklet. Can I help? I asked, spreading out pencils and
papers on the vinyl place mats.
Nah, said Mom, whisking the flour and baking soda
My birthday is in March, and that year it fell during an
especially bright spring week, vivid and clear in the narrow residential
streets where we lived just a handful of blocks south of
Sunset. The night- blooming jasmine that crawled up our neighbor’s
front gate released its heady scent at dusk, and to the north,