The book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club this month is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. I love this book; this was my second time reading it, and I loved it both times. I identify with the characters of Rose and Joseph so strongly. I also find it a hopeful book. Both Rose and Joseph, despite – or maybe because of – their special gifts, found their own path in life.
I think a lot of sadness occurs because people believe in a one size fits all kind of life and want other people, or even themselves, to fit into that box. Rose’s situation would have improved immensely had anyone (other than George) been open enough to believe her and then be willing to help her manage it.
Here is the necklace I made inspired by the book.
I used a beautiful, gnarled polymer heart by Andrew Thornton. The human heart, as it represents our internal life, is beautiful, but it can also be ugly, damaged, healed over, hardened, too soft. I used garnet chip. Garnet was my first gemstone crush when I was a kid. I still think it is beautiful. It can be more so, like life, if the light shines through it just right. But it can also be jagged, like these chips. I interspersed some rubies, even more beautiful, for those really good things in life. They can be big – for Joseph, his ultimate transformation. For Rose there were small things, like when her friend Eliza shared her lunch that tasted like nothing but love (although that was a double edged sword) and bigger things like when George believed her about the food.
I used a lemon yellow weenie bead by Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads. The lemon cake moments in life are awful realizations. Something bad has happened or will happen, and you are going to have to live with it or find a way to get through it. Once Rose knew things, she couldn’t unknow them. I finished the necklace off with a beautiful sterling silver swirl clasp by Miss Fickle Media.
In the end, I think this book is uplifting. Rose and Joseph, without much support from others, each found a way to be in the world. And Rose’s care and understanding of Joseph in the end is so touching. To me, the book is very much about the siblings. The parents represent people who don’t understand themselves (or don’t want to, in the case of the father) or the differences of others and therefore aren’t happy themselves and aren’t able to contribute much to the happiness of those around them.