The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

This was our book club book for February, Unfortunately I didn’t obtain a copy until the week of our book club meeting, and that week I only found 2 free hours to read. I’m not one to go to book club if I haven’t read the book, but even only being half way through, since I was enjoying what I was reading, I decided to go. I attended my first book club meeting ever where no one liked the book.
It was an odd meeting. My fellow book club members made comments that they too liked the book up until the part I was out, but then they said things got weird and they did not enjoy the second half, at all. Another friend hadn’t finished either, and had decided not to after the meeting. But, my friend Gretchen made an interesting comment. And I do not know if she liked the book or not because she arrived a little later and arrived amongst the hate fest. But she compared the book to an independent film, an indie film. I had already decided that I was still going to finish the book prior to her comment, but that sealed the deal – I was definitely going to finish.

Honestly, I am glad I did. And I wish I’d finished before book club so I could be the one to say, “I liked the book. I enjoyed the story. I appreciated the message. I loved the author’s writing style”

So, since I didn’t get to “voice” my opinion at book club, permit me to share it here.

Everyone has a talent or two or five or twenty, or a countless number of talents. Most, I’m sure, are familiar of the Parable of the Talents. We know that if we don’t use our talents, they may as well be buried in the ground. They are useless. This book spoke to me of the importance of the talents we are given. Many times, we may not appreciate our talents, even shy from them. That is the father in the story. That at times is me. On my personal blog, I’ve at times voiced dissatisfaction with being gifted with a good brain - especially being single. Guys don’t seem to like smart girls, at least not the ones I’ve dated. So for a long time, I didn’t try; I didn’t exert myself; I didn’t voice my opinion, my true opinion. Luckily, I decided so what, and I have seen the rewards of my work and efforts and the rewards for being smart and using my brain. The dad never even tried. And in the story, it seems his talent could have ultimately brought the most good.

Some people have talents, but they don’t know how to best use them. Or they don’t use them in the right way. This makes me think of some well known people of the past. There are some who have a talent for public speaking or leading people, but they don’t necessarily have talents in following the right sort of people or ideas. Or they form the wrong opinion. An extreme example: Hitler. Another rather extreme example: Charles Manson. They unfortunately had the talent for leading, but boy was their ideology off, WAY OFF. The brother in this story definitely doesn’t go to quite this extreme, but he didn’t know how to use his talent. As unique as the talent was, and I struggled trying to think of how his talent could have been used, I am sure there was a positive way he could have used it.

And finally, the third way talents are displayed in the story. Sometimes we don’t know how to use our talents. Sometimes we don’t know who can help us to develop our talents. Sometimes people discourage us from developing our talents. But thankfully, one character in the story did start to develop her talents, even though it was tough and it was confusing and for the longest time, she didn’t know how. She finally has the chance. And though we don’t know what ends up happening, as the story doesn’t end (bring in the indie film aspect of the story) – but the story ends on a positive note (unlike many indie films.)

I totally, unlike the rest of my book club, recommend this book. But remember, don’t take the story at face value. Look deeper. And I actually shared the book with my uncle’s wife, and she enjoyed it too. So there, two people who like it and recommend it.


ps - I am hosting book club this month. I suggested this book. I've been super stressed following last month's book club. But I already read the book as I think book club books should be at least be read and recommended by one member of the book club. Luckily I am getting really positive feedback from my friends on the book I chose. So, word to the wise - don't pick a book just by the cover. Turns out, that is how this book was selected. Lucky for me, unlucky for the rest of our book club. And again, enjoy.

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