Advance reader reviews of The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry.

The Kitchen Daughter

A Novel

By Jael McHenry

The Kitchen Daughter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Apr 2011,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 2 of 7
There are currently 46 member reviews
for The Kitchen Daughter
Order Reviews by:
  • Gail B. (Albuquerque, NM)

    Opportunity to learn
    Being completely ignorant of Asperger's syndrome, I stepped into Jael McHenry's book totally unaware. As the characters unfolded and my understanding developed, I was pleased to learn about this family and then discover how many famous people, from Beethoven to Bob Dylan, probably have been victims of it. Books with recipes have always been fun and especially since food is such a key element, really added to the texture of the story. Thanks for the opportunity to learn.
  • Linda S. (Burlingame, CA)

    The Kitchen Daughter
    It took me a few chapters before I started enjoying this book about a young woman whose parents recently died. I felt manic reading the heroine's behaviour (Asperger's Syndrome) in the beginning but I finally realized this was how the character felt all the time. The parts with ghosts and magic realism were wonderful but they did not continue through the book which I would have wanted - because the mystery, to me, was never answered. Despite the quirks, the writer has a wonderful sense of humor and the ending was touching.
  • Ruth O. (Downingtown, PA)

    Interesting view of Asperger's Syndrome
    ‘The Kitchen Daughter’ explores the world of a young woman who most likely has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, and how she emotionally reacts after her parents suddenly pass away. It is evident from the first pages that her personality is unlike that of so-called ‘normal’ persons, and developments throughout the book support this observation. One of her coping mechanisms when distressed is cooking, hence the title of the book. There are some supernatural aspects to the story, which in general I dislike, but these events fit well into the storyline. I enjoyed the book, although it didn’t ‘grab’ me and it took me some time to finish it since I was able to put it down. It did interest me enough to find out more about Asperger’s and other autistic disorders, and I’d recommend it especially to readers who would be interested in a first-person view of Asperger’s.
  • Jinny K. (Fremont, CA)

    Sweet, but far-fetched
    I did enjoy some aspects of this book and would certainly be on the lookout for future works by this author. However, I don't generally read sci-fi or fantasy, so the weaving of the spirit world into an otherwise down-to-earth story didn't seem congruous to me.
    I also think the recipe-within-novel device has gotten pretty tired.
    The characters were beautifully drawn and well maintained throughout the novel. Especially touching was the relationship between Ginny and her sister. The interior monologue of the protagonist was extraordinary and I really felt that I was living her life for a time.
    Overall, a good read and I was left wishing it were a little longer.
  • Marcia F. (Batavia, IL)

    "The Kitchen Daughter"
    "The Kitchen Daughter" is not a difficult read; as a matter of fact it can easily be read, completed and enjoyed in one sitting. However, I enjoyed it best by only reading several chapters at a time, thereby, savoring all that I had just read. I am an avid cook and really enjoyed everything described in food terms as well as the recipes (several I have made - delicious)! Being a Hospice volunteer, I related to Ginny's, Amanda's, David's and Gert's grief. This book will be an excellent read for Book Clubs as there are so many different directions the discussions can go. I really enjoyed reading "The Kitchen Daughter".
  • Cindy M. (W. Reading, PA)

    Comfort Food
    Jael McHenry creates an unlikely heroine in a socially awkward younger sister who, after the death of her parents, needs to adapt to the new terms of life laid before her. As she and her sister sift through their parents possessions, she comes to understand them and herself in new ways. The conflicts that emerge forge new relationships with her sister and those around her. This is a magical and heartwarming coming-of-age story not without its sad moments. You will want to have a full pantry when you read this. McHenry's descriptions of cooking, the recipes, the scents, and preparation will lead you straight to your own kitchen.
  • Paula F. (Atlanta, GA)

    Echoes of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    The Kitchen Daughter is ultimately a story that questions what, or who, is normal and who has the right to make that determination. It suggests that all of us are wounded in one way or another. Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman with Asperger's Syndrome forced to deal with life after her sheltering parents die unexpectedly, reminds me of Truly Plaice, the title character in Tiffany Baker's The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. Both realize that they are different from others, both have more "normal" sisters, and both have mystical powers. The Kitchen Daughter is very well written and would make a good book club selection. I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Little Giant.
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  76Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.