Helen M. (Petaluma, CA)
Just a Little Messy
I would certainly recommend The Mouse Proof Kitchen. It is a story of life and how messy it can get, how human we are. It is also a story of profound love and all the challenges that love may face. And it is a story of families. Guarantees there are not! Set in a village in France, in a very old and "messy"farmhouse, it is a very moving account of the trials of having a less than perfect child. It is a story of deep friendships, secrets, forgiveness. Saira Shah, the author, is adept at strong emotion, the almost violent swings that occur. And there is humor......... I am so glad I read this book.
Malinda N. (Wheeling, WV)
Life Gets Messy
I enjoyed this story and read it quickly. The characters are engaging and the author does a nice job of creating an engaging story while trying to deal with a very difficult subject matter. While I enjoyed the book on one level I never felt as though anyone would be so cavalier emotionally or medically with such a disabled child. The author makes a note about how she wanted Anna and Tobias to display extreme behaviors possibly as a way to address some emotions that real parents of disabled children feel but don't act upon. I just found the characters to be enjoyable and the story entertaining but as a fictional tale not something that I would think could be true in real life.
Elizabeth W. (Van Buren, AR)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
One of life's greatest frustrations is being powerless. Such is the theme of this book. In an effort to control SOME part of her life, the narrator focuses on controlling the rodent problem in the kitchen; alas, like life, this also proves to be beyond her abilities.
DJ (Sherwood, OR)
First time parents expecting a child of their dreams and having those dreams dashed with the birth of their extremely disabled little girl. This is not a book I would have picked up to read because of the topic. I think the author did a good job of dealing with the multitude of feelings that parents must go through in this situation, including the joy of love brought to their lives. I think it would provide a good discussion for a book club. I did feel the relationships with the other characters in the book were not developed very well, too many difficult characters handled superficially.
Edie M. (Kennett Square, PA)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
I expected this book to be funny, instead, I found it to be on the verge of depressing. Saira Shah does have a way with her writing to keep the reader interested though.
I would recommend this book to the over 40 crowd.
Vy A. (Phoenix, AZ)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen is a book that is well written but at times was very difficult to read because Anna and her husband Tobias face so many unbelievable challenges when their baby is born with extreme disabilities. Author Shah doesn't sugarcoat anything, and the result is that we feel we are living with their extreme frustration and conflicting feelings of fear, love, responsibility and rejection concerning their daughter. As if that were not challenge enough the conditions of the mouse-infested home they have purchased in France are deplorable. Of course their relationship is put to the test and one has to continue reading to see how they manage to deal with all the adversity. The minor characters are interesting and well developed. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in evolution of plant life works in the French countryside, but mainly to those who feel life has dealt them a difficult hand. I think by comparison to this family, one will count their blessings.
Renee P. (Sanford, FL)
Profound honesty makes for an uncomfortable read.
I have to admit I have really mixed feelings about this book. I found myself admiring the sheer bluntness and candid honesty of Shah's feelings upon learning of the severe disabilities her child was born with. The knee jerk reactions of both she and her husband were at once difficult to read and in some ways easy to understand. His almost instinctive personal defensive action to simply walk away and leave the child in the hospital is disturbing in a way I find difficult to explain. As a parent, part of me fully understands that first, "OH NO, not my child," feeling, the desire to retreat to the "perfect child fantasy," while at the same time I was secretly gloating and patting myself on the back because my children are nice and normal and I did not have to face the difficult decisions they were faced with.
And, if I am to be as brutally honest as Shah was in describing her feelings, it is that instinctual parental gloating that gets in the way of my really enjoying this book.
I can't say I liked either one of these parents very much, even after they did finally snap out of their individual wallowing around in angst and self-pity, yet ... I cannot say I would not have reacted in the very same ways if it had been my children and that makes for some disconcerting reactions on my part while reading.
While on one had I did admire Shah's ability to show all the "warts and hidden excrescences" that being dealt that shattering parental blow must create, I did find reading her detailing of it extremely uncomfortable.