Pain Has a Flavor

Book Discussion

"Here is something I learned when I was eleven years old: Pain has a flavor. The question is, what does it taste like to you?"

Libby Denbe kicks off the narration of Lisa Gardner's new thriller, Touch and Go, by telling us pain has a flavor. It can change. Different kinds of pain may taste different. When the book opens, her pain tastes like oranges. Her husband had picked oranges off a tree on their honeymoon and then peeled and fed them to her. The taste of oranges is the flavor of her love for him, but after finding out he's cheated on her, it's now the flavor of her pain.

orange heart

Credit: Kate Ter Haar

I've thought about pain having a flavor. There are things I associated with pain -- the taste of bile from being sick, the taste of iron when I accidentally bite my tongue and cause it to bleed. I think these are normal associations. Perhaps I've been lucky. Perhaps I've never felt a pain so deep that it taints the memory of a flavor. Unlike Libby, for me oranges are just oranges. Yellow cake baked from a mix just tastes like cake to me, not the loss of a parent.

Perhaps that will change at some point in the future. Perhaps a day will come when the taste of something I love will only cause me pain. Or perhaps not. Maybe my pain will have a song or a shape. Maybe it will be the way the sun catches a shadow. None of us know what our pain will taste, smell or feel like until we experience it.

Does your pain have a flavor?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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