Imagine while you are eating dinner tonight that every time you take a bite you can feel the emotions of the person who cooked it. This is the very unusual synesthesia that afflicts Rose, the main character of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. OK, it's not exactly synesthesia, which refers to the neaurological condition where sensory input gets confused in the brain. Sounds suddenly have color, or tastes. Certain words are associated with smells...But Rose's ability to taste the emotions of the people who made her food was just one special ability in her family's DNA.
This book may be the most unique coming of age story that I have ever read. Rose's character is full of all the angst and uncertainty of any adolescent-I mean, aren't we already swimming in a storm of emotions as teens? Bender's writing is fluid and poetic, though she does have that annoying lack of quotation marks going against her. She manages to blend a rather surreal set of family quirks and strange events into a very realistic seeming story about a family who loves each other, but just can't seem to connect.
The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie
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