Publisher: Doubleday

Waiting on Wednesday – Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

April 4, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Social Creature by Tara Isabella BurtonSocial Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
Published by Doubleday on June 5th 2018
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Donna Tartt, a dark, propulsive and addictive debut thriller, splashed with all the glitz and glitter of New York City.

They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them... They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste...

Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.

Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship. A Talented Mr. Ripley for the digital age, this seductive story takes a classic tale of obsession and makes it irresistibly new.

About Tara Isabella Burton

Tara Isabella Burton has followed a female hermit into the remote Caucasus, gotten love amulets from Turkish Islamic shamans, and held signs with the street preachers of Las Vegas.

Her work on religion, culture, and place can be found at National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, The Economist's 1843, Aeon, The BBC, The Atlantic, The American Interest, Salon, The New Statesman, The Telegraph, and more. Her fiction has appeared at The New Yorker's Daily Shouts, Great Jones Street, Tor.com, PANK, Shimmer, and other places. She has received The Spectator's 2012 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a 2016 Lowell Thomas Award.

Her first novel, Social Creature, is forthcoming from Doubleday (US) and Bloomsbury/Raven (UK) in June 2018, and will be translated into nine more languages, including Italian, French, and Russian. She is also working on a non-fiction book about new religious and "replacement religion" movements, Strange Rites: Cults and Subcultures After the Death of God, to be published by Public Affairs in 2019.

Tara recently completed a doctorate in theology as a Clarendon Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford. She is currently a staff writer on the religion beat at Vox.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

July 22, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray PollockThe Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock
Published by Doubleday on July 12th 2016
Pages: 384
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Devil All the Time

two-half-stars

From Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his place among the best contemporary American authors.

It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family’s entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it?

In the gothic tradition of Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre’s literary masters.

style-3 review

“That’s the one good thing about this here life. Nothin’ in it lasts for long.”

The Heavenly Table‘s cast of characters is extremely large and despite the extravagant and grandiose picture attempting to be painted, most characters were superfluous. There were two main stories, the first being the story of Pearl Jewett and his three sons, Cane, Chimney, and Cobb. Their father is something of a religious man and believed that the harder they lived here on Earth, the higher chance they would earn a seat at the heavenly table. They lived the hardest existence possible without succumbing to it. Until the day that Pearl did, and his boys decided to hell with the heavenly table, they wanted to live good now. They began with a  murder, followed it up with a bank robbery, and went on from there.

The second is the story of a farmer named Ellsworth Fiddler, a farmer in Ohio, who also leads a hard existence but only because he got swindled out of his life savings. On top of that, his son, who was the only help he had with farm work, has up and disappeared. The year is 1917 and war is brewing and Ellsworth believes he joined up and hopes that he can finally make something of himself.

These stories were all well and good but we’re given full accounts of several other storylines that never really ended up amounting to much. The military officer that gets dumped, discovers he’s gay, decides to kill himself but decides at the last minute to enlist so he can die honorably in the war instead. The black man that uses and abuses women travels home to visit his family but finds himself mixed up with the Jewett’s. The bar keep in a small town that likes kidnapping and torturing people for the hell of it. And last but certainly not least, the sanitation inspector with a giant penis. I’m not kidding. At one point it’s referred to as a “long slab of meat.” I think that about covers everything but goddamn was it convoluted. The chapters, of which there are 72 in total, are short and to the point which didn’t exactly help when you’re trying to connect and under such an extensive cast of characters. All in all it made for quite the rocky read.

The Devil All the Time, Pollock’s debut novel, is one of my all time favorites and is the book that solidified my love of southern gothic fiction. It hosted a cast of perverse characters and was extremely violent brash, but damn was it brilliant. The Heavenly Table introduces a brand new cast of perverse characters but there was a distinctly vulgar quality to Pollock’s sophomore effort that I found fairly unpleasant. Here are just a few examples:

‘Even Esther, probably the least self-conscious person he’d ever met, occasionally got the jitters if too many voyeurs crowded into her tent to watch her play a tune on some john’s skin flute.’

and

‘Bovard had stumbled to his quarters so aroused from what Malone had said that he was still awake at reveille, his handkerchief stiff with ejaculate and his hand cramped so badly that he had a difficult time lacing up his boots.’

Pollock excels at portraying the backwoods down South mentality. He highlights just how poor the poor were and the lengths they would go just to climb out of the station assigned to them at birth. It’s sad and devastating when you really think about it, but Pollock’s delivery is done in such a way so as to not garner sympathy. He simply tells it like it is. The added facet of WWI seemed an unnecessary inclusion at first but it only aided in highlighting the small mindedness of these people and how unaware they are of the vastness of the world around them.

“And what’s this?” Eula said, pointing at the broad expanse of blue that separated America from Europe while waving gnats away from her face.
“That’s the Atlantic Ocean.”
Ellsworth leaned in for a closer look. “Why, that don’t look no bigger than Clancy’s pond,” he said.

Times were changing for these people, whether they liked it or not. Not just with the war either but with new technology and even evolving mindsets. It was a time of change and seeing these characters confronted with it was most fascinating.

I never thought to expect more novels from Pollock, I was sure that The Devil All the Time was destined to be his only one, and while this one was quite a disappointment overall it’s still fantastic to see southern gothic continue to grow in popularity.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Heavenly Table: A Novel by Donald Ray Pollock

December 9, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Heavenly Table: A Novel by Donald Ray PollockThe Heavenly Table: A Novel by Donald Ray Pollock
Published by Doubleday on July 12th 2016
Pages: 336
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Devil All the Time, The Heavenly Table

From Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his place among the best contemporary American authors.

It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family’s entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it?

In the gothic tradition of Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre’s literary masters.

About Donald Ray Pollock

Donald Ray Pollock was born in 1954 and grew up in southern Ohio, in a holler named Knockemstiff. He dropped out of high school at seventeen to work in a meatpacking plant, and then spent thirty-two years employed in a paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. He graduated from the MFA program at Ohio State University in 2009, and still lives in Chillicothe with his wife, Patsy. His first book, Knockemstiff, won the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Third Coast, The Journal, Sou’wester, Chiron Review, River Styx, Boulevard, Folio, Granta, NYTBR, Washington Square, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. The Devil All the Time is his first novel.

 

I am constantly raving about what an incredible novel The Devil All the Time is. The wait has been fierce but finally there’s a new book coming out next Summer. Cannot wait.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

dvd-pearl

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Ominous October – The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

October 4, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Ominous October, Read in 2014 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ominous October – The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar CanteroThe Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
Published by Doubleday on August 12th 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-stars

A mesmerizing novel...what begins as a gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero's wholly original, modern-day adventure.

When twentysomething A., the European relative of the Wells family, inherits a beautiful, yet eerie, estate set deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never knew he had a "second cousin, twice removed" in America, much less that his eccentric relative had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .

Together with A.’s companion, Niamh, a mute teenage punk girl from Ireland, they arrive in Virginia and quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and an opulent lifestyle. Axton House is haunted... they know it...but the presence of a ghost is just the first of a series of disturbing secrets they slowly uncover. What led to the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze – and what does the basement vault keep? Even more troubling, what of the rumors in town about a mysterious yearly gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?

Told vividly through a series of journal entries, cryptic ciphers, recovered security footage, and letters to a distant Aunt Liza, Edgar Cantero has written an absorbing, kinetic and highly original supernatural adventure with classic horror elements that introduces readers to a deviously sly and powerful new voice.

‘…all those pathetic lonely people fooling one another into their clumsy games of afterlife and cosmic relevance just to avoid noticing the nauseating sadness of their real lives. How could it sink that low?
That’s how I used to feel, bound by reason to boredom.
And then along came Axton House.’

The main character, known only as “A.” inherits Axton House, a mansion in American, after a second-cousin twice removed by the name of Ambrose Wells commits suicide by throwing himself from his bedroom window. Strangely enough, Ambrose’s father died the same way. At the same age. A. travels to America to get his affairs in order and with him comes Niamh, a mute teenager who communicates throughout the novel via notepad. The two soon immerse themselves in the mystery of the house which they find involves a secret society and many mysterious coded messages.

The Supernatural Enhancements is a Gothic mystery with a sole ghost and a strange sense of eclecticism. Unfortunately, it ranks right up there for me with The Quick in terms of absolute pointlessness. The story is told through various means including audio and video recordings, A’s day to day diary and a most disturbing dream journal, letters to an ‘Aunt Liza’, as well as various excerpts from books that they use in their research. It definitely had a Night Film feel regarding the unique way of telling the story but the story itself bounced around far too much and left far too much confusion in its wake. The strange codes that the two must unravel in order to progress further in solving the mystery should have been fun but instead I found them to be a tedious addition since us as readers had little to no chance of solving them ourselves so the pages and pages of detail regarding how they solved it only resulted in causing me a headache of epic proportions.

The characters themselves were mysterious and quirky but not in the most appealing way. We’re given very little detail on the two (other than the fact that they’re X-File fans which should have caused me to like them on that principle alone, but no) or anything about A. (or why he’s only referred to as A. because that’s just weird) or Niamh and their strange relationship; only that Niamh likes A. but she’s underage so it’s pointless. Or so we’re led to believe. The two sleep in a bed described as “big enough for each of us to throw an orgy without her guests disturbing mine”. And she apparently sleeps there because she’s there to protect him, which makes total sense.

Actually, it never ends up making sense. None of it does. The characters don’t make sense nor their purpose, the bad guys, or this secret society. The mysteries are seemingly explained but in a quick and careless way that is meant to be quirky and interesting but left much to be desired. The Supernatural Enhancements had a promising initial feel that, as Rory put, felt like “a lighthearted, simpler cousin” to The House of Leaves — just minus the use of mirrors. It regrettably fell flat for me.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski {Purchase – My Review}
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan {Purchase}

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Book Review – The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

July 25, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 5 Comments

Book Review – The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockThe Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
Published by Doubleday on July 12th 2011
Pages: 261
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Heavenly Table

five-stars

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic over­tones of Flannery O’Connor at her most haunting.

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.

“…rich people did fine and dandy as long as things were going their way, but the minute the shit hit the fan, they fell apart like paper dolls left out in the rain.”

The Devil All the Time spans decades and showcases several unforgettable individuals. We’re first introduced to Willard Russell, an extremely religious man who sacrifices animals to his ‘prayer log’ in hopes that it will keep the cancer from taking his wife. His son, Arvin, is irrevocably changed by this period of his life. We’re also introduced to a preacher that believes he possesses the ability to bring people back to life, but when he kills and his ability abandons him he is forced to flee. And lastly is the couple that travel the country picking up hitchhikers, killing them brutally, and taking pictures as mementos.

‘Only in the presence of death could he feel the presence of something like God.’

The Devil All the Time is comprised of some of the most perverse characters I’ve likely ever read. Incredibly violent and brash in both characters and the story itself. There is suicide and rape and several brutal killings of both humans and animals but it somehow manages to not ever get to the point of gratuitous; rather, the actions of these individuals were conducted with a casualness and almost flippant manner that was fitting for them.

The desperation and overall mindset of these individuals in this small backwoods town (Knockemstiff, Ohio – which is actually a real town where Donald Ray Pollock himself grew up) was astounding. No one seemed to have big life plans, they all seemed to be extremely simple people. Except for the perverse ones.

‘…he pulled the trigger and a wad of wet, gray brains show out the other side of the college boy’s head. After he fell over, blood pooled in the sockets of his eyeballs like little lakes of fire…’

I’m not usually one for religious stories but these were tantalizing yet so shocking; my eyes were likely the size of dinner plates every time I was reading. It was quite like watching a train wreck, I couldn’t have torn my eyes away even if I tried (or wanted to). These seemingly unconnected story lines come together in a way that surely shocked the hell out of me. This was a completely enthralling story, I hope we can expect more from Mr. Pollock. Big thanks to Rory for the push to finally read this.

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Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwan

July 13, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwanAtonement by Ian McEwan
Published by Anchor on February 25th 2003
Pages: 351
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Sweet Tooth

five-stars

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

‘How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime.’

I very rarely pick up a book if I’ve already seen the movie. Sure, there are likely to be differences but the experience is still spoiled for me. I had to make an exception with Atonement because I adored the movie but I could see how much more the story would shine and benefit from text. And shine did it ever.

Usually I complain about over-descriptiveness in stories, and this was definitely descriptive, yet the author possesses a skill in writing that is completely captivating. He sets the scene with ease and transports you into the very midst of it. His words envelop you and leave you mesmerized. I could go on and on regarding the beauty of this story and the multitude of emotions it managed to evoke in me but put simply, this book was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been told this is the best to expect from Ian McEwan but I will still eagerly dive into more of his works.

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Early Review – Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

November 12, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwanSweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Published by Anchor on November 13th 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Atonement

three-stars

In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.

Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

“I was the basest of readers. All I wanted was my own world, and myself in it, given back to me in artful shapes and accessible form.”

Sweet Tooth tells the story of Serena, a woman living in early 1970’s England. She is an avid reader of modern literature and is eventually recruited to MI5, the United Kingdom’s security agency, after receiving an interview via her middle-aged lover. Her task is to recruit a writer, Tom Haley, who has been pegged as unsympathetic to communism in order for him to write articles with the intent to change the people’s perception. Except he can’t know that he’s doing this for the sole benefit of the government. When Serena realizes that falling in love with Tom means she needs to decide whether or not to continue lying to him or risk everything and tell him all.

Ian McEwan managed to portray an extremely convincing story from a female’s point-of-view. Admittedly, Serena was not a terribly easy character to like but I’m thinking that was quite possibly the intention. Sweet Tooth certainly had an extremely authentic atmosphere, his portrayal of 1970’s England was brilliantly detailed and exact. The 1970’s was of course quite different especially regarding the attitude towards women in the workplace.

Yes, this is a spy novel and several scenes reminded me of a John le Carré novel, but the whole espionage bit was really put on the back burner in regards to the rest of the story. The story really focuses on Serena’s personal development, her maturity, and finding love. The writing was brilliant at times, and most other times was dreadfully dull. It was really hard to be invested in the story as a whole; emotions were described but were hard to get a true grasp on them in order to really understand and appreciate the story. Enjoyable read, but certainly wasn’t as anticipated and lacked in overall impressiveness.

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Book Review – Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

September 2, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Published by Anchor on May 26, 2010
Pages: 306
Genres: Contemporary, Magical Realism
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, 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 cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle)

This storyline certainly had the potential for being a fascinatingly original novel about a young girl, Rose, who on the eve of her 9th birthday realizes that while eating a piece of homemade cake, that her mom is extremely sad. Confused, as a 9 year old would be, she doesn’t realize till it begins happening again and again, that by eating food prepared by someone she’s able to tell what kind of mood they are in.

I found this to be a variation of synesthesia, where individual letters of the alphabet and numbers are designated a color, where sounds can produce colors that arise around the produced sound, and where words can cause involuntary taste sensations. I first learned about synesthesia in Ultraviolet and found it to be quiet fascinating. Obviously in this story she’s not suffering from synesthesia; however, I found it to be a similar concept and was quite interested in the originality of it all.

The overall tone was quite dreary because this little girl was unable to explain to her parents why the dinner feels “empty” and why she knows that even though her mother manages to put on a happy face, it’s far from the truth. As the story progresses and Rose starts learning how to deal with her ‘gift’ she’s able to pick up more and more subtleties like why her mom is sad, why the baker who made the chocolate chip cookies is angry, and is even able to determine where the food has been and who has unknowingly passed on their emotions into it. After one particularly rough meal when her mother, for once, seems happier, Rose soon finds out the reason behind it.

”After I’d bussed the rest of the table, I wrapped up the remaining roast beef in plastic and put it in the refrigerator for some adultery sandwiches the next day.”

This was all in the first 1/3 of the book or so. Then the author decides to throw in the fact that her brother has a ‘magical ability’ as well… and suffice it to say, it was laughable. (view spoiler) Also, the lack of quotation marks drove me absolutely batty. How hard is it to put quotes in so I know what’s being said versus what’s being thought? Very difficult to read like that. Very upsetting because I was really excited about reading this, but I was extremely disappointed with the final outcome. By the end I was ready to give this book 1 star but because I was thoroughly intrigued by the first half of the book I decided to give it 2 instead.

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