Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book. SO MUCH. Because of great reviews by folks that I really respect and admire. Because of a premise that seemed so unique and interesting. Because of that amazing cover art.

Unfortunately, I didn't love it. I liked it but not as much as I'd hoped. I really struggled with whether or not this book deserved two or three stars. I ultimately decided on 3 but it was really more like a two and a half.

I should preface my thoughts with the fact that I often struggle with magical realism unless its written by Sarah Addison Allen (who I seem to adore!). And this novel just didn't do it for me. But, it wasn't because of the magical realism. I actually think that was very well done in this novel. I enjoyed that aspect of the story. I know that a lot of people felt the novel was 'weird' and I think the magical realism accounts for some of that. But, the writing style and pacing only contributed to that sense of weird for me. I liked the actual magical qualities of the story but the rest just didn't do anything for me as a reader. At all.

I was bothered by the writing style, the somberness, and the pacing of the novel. I am not sure that I'm going to be able to capture my concerns and what I didn't like very well because it was more of a feeling than something concrete. I just didn't enjoy the reading of this book. I kept asking myself why I cared to finish it. I just didn't care enough about it to want to keep reading. Yet, the book was VERY readable which is why I stuck with it.

There were times when I thought the writing was very good but most of it just felt disjointed in some way to me. I just felt that the story, the characters and the sense of place were all jumbled up in some way for me. I never really connected to any of it. It felt like something otherworldly with no connection to me as a reader or even to the characters that I was reading about. This ultimately made me enjoy the reading of the story much less than I'd hoped.

In the end, I was so disappointed with this book. The premise was so clever and intriguing but I just didn't feel like it was executed very well. I have very mixed feelings about recommending this book so I'm going to recommend with a lot of caution. Although not a bad book, this is not even remotely one of my favorites. However, some of my bookish friends who I respect have loved the book. So, because of that, you might want to give it a try!

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1 comment:

  1. I have an autographed copy of this book in my TBR stack. Lemon cake tempted me. Anything lemon has my attention. I'll try it soon and see if there's disappointment or pleasure. Thanks for a good review. I usually stick with books too even if they are not a favorite.

    Aloha from Rob