Friday, 2 March 2012

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Aimee Bender

This book did not go down very well with the book group, almost everyone disliked it for various reasons. The main reason being confusion with regard to the magical elements. Most of the group felt this was a very odd thing to have in a book, there didn't seem to be much of a point to it. Although the basic idea was very interesting we felt that it wasn't explored in a very substantial way. We were left wondering why things had happened and wondering what we were meant to feel at the end of the book.

The group found the descriptions of the different places the food had come from interesting, however, they did not like the way that the other members of the family showed their magical powers. We were wondering whether these abilities were genetic in anyway, or whether other people in the neighbourhood had any odd abilities. We would have liked to have a bit more from Joseph about his ability and how he felt when he was using it. Whether he had much control over his ability, or whether it just happened to him like Rose.

Overall we gave this book 2 out of 10.

The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake - Questions


I'm sorry to say i shan't be with you for the next meeting. I hope everyone is enjoying this months read, here are some questions for you to think about:

- It seems as if most of what Rose tastes is negative. Do you think that most hidden feelings are actually negative?

- How did you experience the scene in Joseph's room, when Rose goes to see him? What did that experience mean to Rose? Is there any significance to Joseph choosing a card table chair?

- What is the impact of Rose's discovery about her father's skills? Did this change the way you see the father?

I hope you all enjoyed the book and that you enjoy the meeting too.

Questions are from

Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

The first part of this months meeting was taken up with the decision about the next few months books. We decided to read
These Things Hidden (Heather Gudenkauf)in March,
When God Was A Rabbit (Sarah Winman) in April,
One Day (David Nicholls) in May,
Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons) in June
Next Of Kin (David Hosp) in July.

This month practically the whole book group finished the book, and most seemed to enjoy at least a part of it. Many people in the group had already read the book either at school or because it appealed to them. Most found that reading it now as compared to when they were younger gives them a very different view point. Reading it when they were younger they saw it mostly as a gothic romance, now they could see some of the adult themes running through the book.

The group seemed a little split as to whether they enjoyed the first part or the second part of the book, not many seemed to enjoy the entire book equally. Those that prefered the second part of the book said it was because they wanted to know how all the secrets would pan out. Whereas those that enjoyed the first part of the book tended to find their empathy with Mrs DeWinter was waning towards the end of the book and this spoiled their enjoyment.

We could all see the similarities between this book and Jane Eyre, and we mostly agreed that Mrs De Winter wasn't as strong as she could have been with regard to her husband and the staff in the house. However, this was the point of the book, to show that although Rebecca was no longer alive she was still hugely powerful as a presence in the house. Interesting Daphne Du Maurier strengthened this power of Rebecca over the entire book by not giving the new Mrs De Winter a first name. More interestingly is the fact that not many people notice this unless it is pointed out.

Along with the theme of strength of character we also saw the theme of truth as being very strong. If many of the characters in the book had told the truth then much of the tragedy would not have happened. Almost every character in the book was holding a secret, some became more obvious than others as the book progressed. For example, although not clearly stated we guessed that Mrs Danvers harboured a secret love for Rebecca.

Overall we gave it 7.5 out of 10.

Rebecca - Questions

Hello everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed this months book. Here are some questions to get you thinking before Thursday meeting.

- Du Maurier admitted that her heroine has no name because she could never think of an appropriate one—which in itself is a telling comment. What effect does it have on the novel that the new Mrs. de Winters has no first name?

- What is the heroine led to believe about Rebecca? In what way does the dead woman exert power over Manderley? At this point, what are your feelings about the new Ms. de Winter? Are you sympathetic toward her plight...or impatient with her lack of assertion? Or are you confused and frightened along with her?

- In the end, what really happened to Rebecca? What is the full story of her death? Is it right that Maxim is absolved of any crime? Was he caught in an untenable position? Was Rebecca simply too evil—did she end up getting what she deserved?

- Now return to the beginning of the book. How would you put into words, or explain, the sense of loss and exile that permeates tone of the opening? (You might think about a spiritual as well as physical exile.)

Questions are from LitLovers.