Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

This was a very touching book about two adult sisters--one with Asperger's, who struggle to come to terms with the sudden death of their parents. Amanda is the sister with the husband, big house, and two kids. Ginny still lives with her parents, and struggles to define "what's normal". She finds comfort and ways to cope with life when she cooks, thinks about food, and reads blogs about recipes and food.

After their parents die Ginny, in a moment of trying to cope, prepares a recipe from her deceased Grandmother. And as the recipe is completed, her Grandmother arrives in the kitchen, sitting on a stool. Ginny quickly realizes that making a recipe handwritten by someone dead brings them back to her kitchen, for as long as the smell of the cooking lingers. It's her chance to have one last conversation with her mother, and solve the mystery of a letter her father wrote to her mother many years before, asking for forgiveness. What did he do that required forgiveness?

This book was a delight to read. It is poignant, and sad, but Ginny is one amazing character. She struggles with the definition of "normal" all her life. She has coping mechanisms that help her get through the day, but at the same time, she's not living her life to the fullest. With the death of her parents, and a clash with her sister, she soon realizes she must take steps to leave her comfort zone and take control. 

The recipes in this book will make you want to start cooking. And reading this from Ginny's perspective helps to understand what someone on the Asperger's spectrum must go through each day. I found that deeply insightful; and I especially loved Ginny's realization that everyone's "normal" is different. There is no normal that is a blanket that fits us all.

1 comment :

  1. This sounds intriguing. I'm putting on my list. You are so good at finding unique books with a good story.