Without any discernible plot or direction the story is all icing and no substance. And not particularly sweet icing at that.
Rose Edelstein has a gift: when she eats, she can taste the emotions of the person who made the food. Her mother’s lemon cake has never tasted more desperate, and Rose becomes the keeper of her family’s secrets—including her own.
I picked this book up for the Goodreads Aussie Readers Summer Reading Challenge as my Oprah book. The title is just so delicious. Some of the descriptions of food and emotion are scrumptious. For example, Rose envies her best friend Eliza’s turkey sandwich:
I’d tasted that turkey sandwich before. The whole thing was just a sonata of love—the lettuce leaf, the organic tomato grown on a happy farm, even the factory mayonnaise took on such delicacy of feeling it seemed like an exquisite violin solo. It was difficult, and rude, to hate my friend so much.
Aimee Bender’s lyrical style is lovely, but the story goes nowhere. None of the characters are interesting enough, Rose doesn’t even think about how to use her gift positively until the very end, and Bender does very little with the tidbits about her family that Rose discovers.
*** SPOILER ALERT: Oh, and Rose’s brother turns into a chair. How ridiculous is that? ***
Yay or nay?
Bender’s lyrical style starts off well, but without any discernible plot or direction the story is all icing and no substance. And not particularly sweet icing at that.
This books was published in hardback by Doubleday on June 2010. A UK edition was released last month.
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