Friday, May 6, 2011

Thinking Nice Thoughts While Cooking

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender is billed as the story of Rose, a young girl who can taste people's emotions in the food that they prepare.  One can guess that she would taste her mom's cake and see feelings that a 9 year old daughter would not expect, or that she would taste something that a stranger prepared and gain a new perspective on that person.  That's what I thought I would get, but I was pleasantly surprised when it got all Time Traveler's Wife-y on me.

Speaking of that, I should add The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger to my Favorites list.  (Done!) 

Rose feels very alone with her "gift" and doesn't talk about it very much.  Communication and the lack thereof within families is a favorite theme of mine, and there is a gaping hole within Rose's family, where words should exist.  As always, if the family had talked more, the individual members would have felt less alone.  Rose finds a good listener in one of her brother's friends, who is a science geek, and is willing to suspend disbelief in order to trust his findings completely.

It's really hard to make you want to read TPSOLC without giving too much away.  There are several questions that remained unanswered at the end of the book, especially involving Rose's mom's relationship with her own mom, Rose's mom's role within the family, and why Rose's mom does some of the things that she does.  This would be a good book group discussion book, if anyone is looking.

My favorite part of listening to TPSOLC on CD is that the author, Aimee Bender, read it herself.  I really appreciated having a competent reader reading to me, rather than an actress.  And who better to know the proper inflections than the author herself?   If this had been read differently, like with a dreamy, "soothing" voice, it would have sounded too hokey and unbelieveable.

Next Up on CD:  I'm not sure yet, but I'm headed to the library tonight.

Still Reading:  Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart.  I have no idea why it is taking me so long to read this book!  It is really good, and I enjoy reading it, but I seem to only be able to read 10 or 20 pages a day.  I still have 100 pages to go!

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