When young unassuming Rose Edelstein celebrates her ninth birthday her life forever changes in ways she could not have imagined. When Rose takes a bite of her mom’s lemon cake she is able to taste her mother’s emotions: which taste like despair and emptiness. To her horror, she discovers she has a “gift” to taste people’s emotions in the food they make. Her “gift” causes her to try to avoid eating foods unless they are straight from the factory which ends up resulting in her eating mostly packaged junk food.
Rose realizes her mom is very unhappy but is unable to do anything about it. One day, she eats dinner that her mom made and uncovers a secret that Rose would rather not have known. Along with an unhappy mom she also has a “genius” but withdrawn brother that her mom favors and a dad that seems to not put any effort into having a personal connection with his family.
“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” is a different and unusual book at times bizarre. At times, Rose’s family dynamic is sad and you feel sorry for her. Her ability causes her to taste such negative emotions in food rarely being able to take pleasure from eating like many of us do.
About the Discussion:
Eleven people attended November’s BookLite. Nine people disliked the book, one person liked it, and one person felt neutral about it. Some comments from the BookLite members was that the book could be confusing and hard to read due to the lack of punctuation. Many members said they did not understand the characters or the meaning of the book and also wished there was more character development. We did have a great discussion about the book and the reasons why most did not like it.