(Warning: This is a review, with a few modifications, first published on Goodreads which I thought you might enjoy. As I warned the GR folks, there is what some might consider a (very mild) spoiler ahead.)
The art of magical realism is alive and well in this intriguing work by Aimee Bender. Rose is eight years old the first time she literally tastes her mother’s yearning and dissatisfaction in a slice of home made lemon chocolate cake. She is twelve the first time she realizes her brother has the ability to disappear. The story is not about these admittedly odd discoveries, as much as it is about their consequences, and the child’s methods of coping, and not coping, with information she is too young to handle.
Even more, it is a story about human gifts, their use, misuse and neglect and the consequences of each choice. From the first lines, we are drawn completely into Rose’s world and are captivated by it, and her.
It happened for the first time on a Tuesday afternoon, a warm spring day in the flatlands near Hollywood, a light breeze moving east from the ocean and stirring the black-eyed pansy petals newly planted in our flower boxes.
Bender’s style is often lyrical and poignant, her characters at once familiar and new. The problems they face are as old as the human race, told in a voice that reverberates with honesty.
Read it. You won’t regret it.