Monday, May 23, 2011

The Particular Insightfulness of Aimee Bender

   The most recent selection of our fantastic little book club is another style departure, something different than what we've read so far as a group and, for most of us as individuals, ever.  There is plenty to say about this wonderfully unusual book, but the bottom line is that Aimee Bender can count on selling many more titles to this reader. 

   She is just the right amount of offbeat to be interesting and addictive, not offputting, and her writing style is so well reduced, so concise and intense, that even just one page offers great buildup and equally great release.  The book as a whole was a stand-alone pleasure, but it opened so many thought provoking doors that Bender could follow up with at least two or three connected stories without diluting the essence of the original.  (Hint, hint...pretty please!)

   Have you read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake yet?  Find it.  Buy it, borrow it, read it, share it.  Savor it, and see how it effects you.

   We're not talking about life-changing paradigm shifts here; this book offers no eating, loving, or praying.  Well, there is eating I suppose, but in a very different context.  This is just 292 pages of emotional insight & struggle mixed with some incredibly imaginative science fiction. 
   The most basic description might be that a young girl discovers her ability to taste in her food the emotions of the person who prepared it.  The gift stays with her throughout her life, and gradually she hones it quite well.  But her difficult circumstances are way more far reaching than this strange gift/curse. 
   As I read through these beautifully crafted pages, Khalil Gibran kept surfacing in my mind:  "Bread baked without love is a bitter bread that feeds but half a man's hunger."  This book had me reconsidering lots of things, not the least of which is the emotional content of my kitchen. 

   Back to our awesome central Oklahoma book club (we need a group name and mascot, ladies!), the next discussion & dinner party is in late June here at the farm.  Guess which very generous author is planning to call in for some friendly Q & A??   Yep.  Aimee Bender herself.  We owe this special favor to a literary connection we enjoy in a certain Ms. Julia Callahan. 

    Julia is a literary publicist by trade, awesome friend to my baby sister Gen (hi Gen!) and up-and-coming L.A. Derby Doll by vocation.  No amount of home baked cookies can thank you enough for this connection, Julia!  We'll post about the Q & A phone call in early July.

   In the mean time, general public, buy and reaad this book.  It is different than anything you are likely to have read before, and it serves up a lot more than lemon cake.


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