Reading guide for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

A Novel

by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2010, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Casey Cep

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  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?

  2. What does Rose mean when she says her dad always seemed like a guest to her? How does this play out in the rest of the novel?

  3. “Mom's smiles were so full of feeling that people leaned back a little when she greeted them. It was hard to know just how much was being offered.” What does Rose mean and how does this trait affect the mother’s relationships?

  4. Why do you think the dad like medical dramas but hate hospitals?

  5. Rose says, “Mom loved my brother more. Not that she didn’t love me-- I felt the wash of her love everyday, pouring over me, but it was a different kind, siphoned from a different, and tamer, body of water. I was her darling daughter; Joseph was her it.” Do you think Rose is right in her estimation and why do you think the mother might feel this way?

  6. What does the grandmother suggest when she tells Rose “you don’t even know me, How can you love me?” How has the grandmother’s relationship with Rose’s own mother affected the family dynamic?

  7. What is Joseph trying to accomplish by drawing a ‘perfect’ circle when it, by very definition, is impossible? How does George’s idea to create wallpaper out of the imperfections affect him? How does validation and affection through art recur in the novel and what does it signify?

  8. Why does George suddenly conclude Rose’s gift isn’t really a problem and stops investigating it?

  9. What is the significance of the mother’s commitment to carpentry (compared to other, short-lived hobbies)? How does this play out in the rest of the novel?

  10. What is the impact of Rose's discovery about her father's skills? Did this change the way you see the father?

  11. Joseph is described as a desert and geode while Rose is a rainforest and sea glass. Discuss the implications.

  12. Why does Rose want to keep the thread-bare footstool of her parents’ courtship instead of having her mother make her a new one?

  13. Are the family dinners—with Joseph reading, the dad eating, Rose silently trying to survive the meal and the mom talking non-stop—emblematic of the family dynamic? How has it evolved over the years?

  14. How did you experience the scene in Joseph's room, when Rose goes to see him? What did that experience mean to Rose? Is there any significance to Joseph choosing a card table chair?

  15. What does the last image about the trees have to do with this family? How do you interpret the last line of the novel?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Anchor Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Culinary Delights

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.