Rating: 2 out of 5 chocolates.
This is the story of Rose, a girl who, upon turning 9 years old, is suddenly able to taste people’s emotions through tasting food that they’ve prepared. This leads her to finding out about her mother’s feelings of desperation and sadness under the veneer of cheerful domesticity. An interesting concept.
However I found it could have been more pleasurable to read if the author had taken the protagonist’s age into consideration, as the story is initially told from the view point of Rose as a 9-year-old. The dialogues between the young child and her mother, as well as the child’s inner monologues, sound too mature. The story progresses up until Rose is in her twenties, but there is no sense of her aging due to the voice used.
Moreover, Rose’s brother Joseph also features heavily in the story, with his own special ability that was only at first hinted upon and then shown, but not given enough detail. In fact, the story did not even need it at all.
Bender does write beautiful prose though. Her descriptions are rich and emotive, the main character complex and yet accessible.