The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

By Aimee Bender
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385720960, 292pp.)

Publication Date: April 19, 2011

List Price: $15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '11 Reading Group List
“Aimee Bender's keen eye and delightfully quirky sensibilities are enchantingly reflected in this novel. When nine-year-old Rose discovers that she can taste people's emotions in the food they prepare, she learns of her mother's despair. Meanwhile, her older brother is increasingly remote and her father blissfully naive. As Rose advances awkwardly into young adulthood, the depth of her family's peculiarities is revealed. Heartbreaking, sweet, and thoroughly engrossing.”
-- Michael Keefe, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR


On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein 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 slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she's privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father's detachment, her mother's transgression, her brother's increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can t discern.

About the Author
Aimee Bender lives in Los Angeles. Her stories have appeared in "Granta," "GQ," "Harper's," "Fence," "Tin House," "Paris Review," and several other publications. She is the author of collection "The Girl in the Flammable Skirt" and "An Invisible Sign of My Own," her first novel.

Conversation Starters from


  1. Rose goes through life feeling people’s emotions through their food.  Many eat to feel happy and comforted.  Does this extreme sensory experience bring any happiness to Rose or only sadness?  

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