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Join Aimee Bender to talk about THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, our October Book of the Month, TONIGHT, from 9pm

(166 Posts)
TillyBookClub Wed 28-Sep-11 22:52:04

October's Book of the Month is THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender, a New York Times bestseller and a recent Richard and Judy pick. Rose Edelstein lives in Los Angeles with her seemingly happy family. When she bites into a birthday cake on her ninth birthday, she suddenly tastes her mother's loneliness and unhappiness. After that, she can taste emotion in every morsel: anger in cookies made by a cross chef, distraction in her father's pudding, weariness in factory-processed butter. Worst of all, the blankness in her brother's toast. As Rose grows up, she finds her gift reveals all sorts of secrets she'd rather not confront, but that it cannot tell her everything...

Find out more about Lemon Cake on our book of the month page.

The lovely people at Random House have 50 copies to give away to Mumsnetters -just email your name and address to and put Lemon Cake/Mumsnet in the subject box (THE BOOKS HAVE NOW ALL GONE)

Otherwise, you can get your paperback or Kindle version now.

We are thrilled that Aimee will be chatting to us about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and all her other books on Wednesday 2 November 9-10 pm. Look forward to seeing you there.

TheMonster Sat 22-Oct-11 16:20:14

I'm a few pages from the end. It's a little weird and took a while to get into it, but I am enjoying it. It's intreguing.

TheMonster Sun 23-Oct-11 11:12:56

Right. I have finished it. I am confused. What was the deal with the brother and the chair?

DuchessofMalfi Sun 23-Oct-11 18:59:31

I've nearly finished reading it, and am more than a little freaked by the weird behaviour of the brother. Hoping to get it finished before Wednesday.

whereismywine Mon 24-Oct-11 18:12:19

Eeyore - I'm with you. I was reading it in bed and my dh said I looked like I was doing a hard sum when I read the chair bit. I'm still a bit confused!

TheMonster Mon 24-Oct-11 18:37:09

Having finished it, I still don't get what the brother was up to, or what his 'gift' was. He appearred to want to be a chair.

chickflit Mon 24-Oct-11 19:24:17

As I read it he became the chair, he preferred that to be other objects. It kind of threw me and I'm still not sure whether I understood it correctly.

I found the book started off with promise but then sort of faded out.

TheMonster Mon 24-Oct-11 19:44:08

He actually became the chair? How odd. Maybe the narrator will become a bit of food. There's an idea for a sequel...

TillyBookClub Mon 24-Oct-11 20:28:22

purpletortoise/KatharineClifton - so far we've had no formal form. I think let's go ahead and discuss the book, and then put questions to Aimee when she comes on.

Perhaps we should say that from now on, everyone should feel free to have a frank discussion on the thread on whatever they thought of that month's book, whether or not they can make the discussion night. And then the webchat will focus on the author's responses.

Speaking of which, it's also time to put any advance questions here as I'll be sending them on to Aimee at the beginning of next week. Perfect for those who can't make it, or would like to be the first to get an answer...

purpleturtletoise Mon 24-Oct-11 21:43:02

I found the whole book more than a little bit slow, to be honest. By the time I'd finished it, I was wishing that she'd chosen to tell Joseph's story, as that could have been a far more interesting story. The part where Rose finds him part-human part-chair is the highlight of the book for me.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-Oct-11 22:33:32

Marking place

TheMonster Tue 25-Oct-11 09:22:14

I'm going to have to re-read it.
What did he actually do with the chair when she found him in his apartment? I didn't quite get it.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 25-Oct-11 14:20:35

I finished reading it last night. Where did Joseph go to? I didn't understand why the family seemed to just let him slip away from them without making much of an effort to track him down. He was, presumably still alive. I don't understand the significance of the chair either. I thought the saddest comment was when Rose was talking to her Dad about his father who could smell people's emotions, and he smelled his own death.

whereismywine Tue 25-Oct-11 16:48:33

The way I read it was that his gift was to become objects, but mostly he liked being a chair. I actually didn't like this aspect of the book as it felt kind of under explained and very random and a bit silly. I think i wanted him to be vanishing to a place maybe? But I guess the whole premise was all rather surreal. I also wanted her to get it together with her brothers friend! I'm willing to be talked into how the chair bit was good though smile

TheMonster Tue 25-Oct-11 18:56:14

I agree, whereismywine: I want to hear Bender's side of the story about the brother.

Greedygirl Tue 25-Oct-11 19:10:14

Oh no, serves me right for being nosey, in the middle of reading this for a RL bookclub and just seen the bit about the brother and the chair which I hadn't got to yet! I am not sure what to make of it so far. The mother really gets on my nerves but maybe that is just clever of the author. Will look forward to full discussion once I have finished it and got my head around the brother stuff!

TheMonster Tue 25-Oct-11 19:30:52

Greedygirl, don't worry! We haven't spoilt it for you because no one has a clue what actually happens!

chickflit Tue 25-Oct-11 19:47:33

What I found a bit sad was, she only seemed to eat happy food once, everything else was always sad. Surely even if you're having a busy day it doesn't mean you're sad.

The mother was irritating and the father seemed so disconnected from them.

I liked the brother's story a lot until the chair thing. What I think happened was his special ability was he could change into objects, he'd tried them all but preferred the chair. She got him to promise if he ever did it again that he would only ever be that one particular chair. That's the chair she takes with her to the restaurant at the end when she's moving on, so her brother is always with her. I have to confess though, by this part of the book I too was starting to fade away so may not have been paying 100% attention and was thinking WTF at the same time.

TheMonster Tue 25-Oct-11 19:51:10

Crazy. The food/sadness thing is bizarre enough, but a bloke turning into furniture is just mental.

Greedygirl Wed 26-Oct-11 07:27:20

Right I have finished it now! Utterly bonkers! Some of the writing was brilliant but I don't know...perhaps I am not in the mood for such a barmy book at the moment.

TheMonster Wed 26-Oct-11 08:13:40

Greedy, what was your take on the brother?

kittysaysmiaow Wed 26-Oct-11 14:55:17

The 'chair' scene was the highlight of the novel for me. Until then the atmosphere of the story had been quite light but that scene changed the tone and I loved the way the author created such an eerie atmosphere in the flat. I dont think the author intended the reader to fully understand what was happening, as the protagonist herself couldn't grasp it. But as I understood it the family had special powers and Joseph's was to turn himself into objects. I thought that he used it to escape from the world and his family, and especially the claustrophobia of his mother's love for him. He just found it easier not to exist.

Greedygirl Wed 26-Oct-11 19:23:47

BodyOfEeyore - I agree with Kittysays re the brother and I think parts of the book were very well written such as the chair scene. But it was just too wacky for me.

EsioTrot Wed 26-Oct-11 19:27:50

I really enjoyed it. I like it even more having read your last post kitty...well said grin

I liked the character of the dad. I found the gradual shift from someone totally emotionally removed from the family, to being the "lynch pin" whilst the mother is off with Larry very touching and believable.

whereismywine Wed 26-Oct-11 20:17:35

kitty this has really got me thinking! I think was so busy thinking wtf? that I didn't stop to give it that kind of character thinking. I think because he was so very distant, I felt irked by him, rather than sympathetic? I'm enjoying this thread. I also agree that I wanted her to taste more emotions. Like someone who had just fallen in love <had a good shag>, someone just back off holiday or proud etc?

TheMonster Wed 26-Oct-11 22:41:02

Whereis, I think that was my problem too: I didn't connect in any way with the brother. I don't think that the narrator was particularly connected to her family, any of them, emotionally.
On a plus note, I have just finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and that was ace!

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