This book is so full of sadness that it's almost too much to take in. It is rife with sadness, sadness drips from its pages and threatens to choke the reader in a completely unexpected way. Yes, I know that Sadness is explicitly mentioned in the title but it also mentions lemon cakes which are not supposed to be sad at all.
My point is that Bender put much on her plate but left almost everything incomplete, managing to communicate "only" the sadness generated by Rosie's peculiar talent which is like a giant, heavy brick oppressing everything else.
When she's only nine Rosie develops the ability to identify in every food she eats the emotions of the person who prepared it and she discovers this in the worst way: tasting her mother's deep dissatisfaction in the birthday cake she made for her.
Of course this is an extremely disturbing discovery for a kid and understandably she tries to run from from it by looking for foods which don't transmit such strong and negative emotions. The consequence of this is that the most intriguing aspect of the plot remains totally undeveloped.
Her mother's unhappiness shocks Rosie so much that she rejects her gift altogether, never exploring it until the last pages of the book and by doing this she blocks her own psychological growth for years, until she reaches her early twenties.
The problem is that the book follows the protagonist only during this time frame, when the girl as no evolution as a character at all being so oppressed by her mother's feelings that her life is practically annihilated: she basically has no friends and no interests, she passes through high school as a ghost with no plan for her future life and she diminishes herself by indulging in a casual relationship with a guy she doesn't feel anything for while nursing a crush for her brother's best friend who maybe loves her and maybe not, but in the end just marries another girl.
What's worse, no one seems interested in shaking her from this stupor, neither her self-absorbed mother nor her distant father nor her socially impaired brother, all of whom seem to accept her dullness as a matter of fact, until she decides that it's time to grow up, just like this.
Since Rosie hasn't any kind of evolution, there nothing to be explored in her besides this pervasive melancholy that doesn't make up for the absence of psychological depth.
The author could examine her dysfunctional family but again this becomes a lost opportunity: her mother is an unhappy woman who doesn't know what to do with herself until she begins an extra-conjugal relationship which solves all her problems. Her father is the most irritating character of the book: he remains on the margin till the end, when we suddenly find out that he could have helped her daughter with accepting her "disability" all this time but just didn't feel like it. And that's it. No excuses, no explanations, no reactions from Rosie. Nothing.
The most intriguing character is Joseph, Rosie's brother who since infancy shows serious anti-social behavior which no member of the family thinks important to address and leaves the reader suspecting that his problems may have the same cause of her sister's (but Rosie, the dull, self-absorbed Rosie, never thinks about this eventuality). In the end he finds a solution for all his problems which is perfectly in line with his family approach to life and that leaves the incredulous reader totally unsatisfied.
And that's how I feel after finishing this book: totally unsatisfied. This could have been a masterpiece with so many issues to be investigated, instead Bender make it the story of a problematic family like many others which fails to leave a mark...Continua
Più che un romanzo ritengo che questa storia possa definirsi una prova di scrittura, come se l’autrice avesse buttato giù un paio di idee e le avesse messe insieme giusto per dimostrare di avere il materiale per un romanzo. Parti abbastanza interessanti( ma nemmeno troppo) si alternano ad altre decisamente insignificanti per finire le quali ho dovuto appellarmi a tutta la mia forza di volontà. Forse un giorno lo rileggerò e saprò apprezzarlo ma al momento non mi sento davvero di consigliarlo. -.-...Continua
Come sarebbe la vita se potessimo sentire, nel cibo, i sentimenti di chi l'ha cucinato? Secondo l'autrice sarebbe un vero inferno e questa visione mi è piaciuta subito. Il problema con questo libro nasce dopo. Tutta la parte sul fratello mi è sembrata sconclusionata.. La madre odiosa già dai primi capitoli e il padre e George due bambocco scemi. Vaaaabbè.
Ho faticato molto a concluderlo, infatti, ho saltato varie pagine per poi arrivare alla fine. L'autrice scrive bene, ma proprio il suo stile ha a tratti reso il tutto un po' noioso, sembrava girare attorno allo stesso concetto, troppa carne a fuoco per poi giungere a un (quasi) nulla di fatto. Magari mi aspettavo un romanzo d'amore (vedi Rose e George, la madre della protagonista e l'amante, Larry), invece l'amore è soltanto una cornice alla storia che, così come posta, non ho proprio capito dove volesse andare a parare, deludente....Continua
Mi ha un po' deluso. Aggiungo che la magica capacità della protagonista di intuire i sentimenti delle persone mangiando il cibo che hanno preparato mi ha pure un po' annoiato.