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.
I'm glowing with grief and sucker-punched distraught right now.
Just like Rose's curse-gift of being overcome by the emotions of a dish's cook, this book infects you with its emotion. I spent the majority of it depressed. And that's exactly what a good book does - it moves you to feel what it wants you to, whether it feels good or not.
In between the heartache, I swooned over the prose. This woman can turn a phrase. It's sick, really. It makes other writers wonder how we'd ever come up with something as brilliant, and give up before we even bother trying.
Just like with Bumped, the ending was such a disgusting knock-out, it erased all sins of pretentiousness that literary fiction commits.
If you want to revel in language, hurt for a week (or however long it takes you to read), and then wander in a lost, aching daze, read this book immediately.
Recommended for: lovers of magical realism woven in dreamy prose, a la Alice Hoffman.
** Oh I forgot to add: I LOVE books set in L.A. We're such an anti-intellectual town (hey, it's true) that when literature - even trashy reads - showcase us, they always get it spot on.