Carol N. (Indian Springs Village, AL)
Mouse Proof Kitchen
From the title and brief synopsis of this book I was expecting something completely different. This was the most depressing book I have read. I thought that the first half was bad and then it got worse. Not that the writing itself is bad, but the story just depressed me and it was extremely difficult for me to finish. Given the subject, it doesn't surprise me how harsh the living was for this family but rather than give me hope, it just mired me down and I was not able to enjoy the book at all. Knowing that this was based on the author's own child made it even sadder to me. I do not think I could read anything written by this author again.
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)
Lessons in Love
The Mouse Proof Kitchen is the story of Tobias and Anna whose perfect life is shattered when their daughter Freya is born: flawed. Will they be able to give her unconditional love?
Their lives change when they leave England to live in France. They are the new owners of an old farmhouse Les Rajons at the top of a large hill open to the wind on all sides. Their view is of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. The story recounts their struggles with leaky roofs, mold, and rats in the kitchen. Anna gets organized and deals with Freya's demanding and critical medical care while cleaning up and repairing the house for her planned French cooking school or a restaurant for tourists.
Dealing with serious questions of parenthood and desperate housing problems, The Mouse Proof Kitchen is written with good-natured humor of farm life in rural south France that ends happily. I enjoyed the quick read and will read more of Shah's books.
Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)
Saria Shah draws readers into Anna's well-planned perfect world just as it comes crashing down -- or does it? That question keeps those same readers intrigued until Anna finds the answer.
Lisa M. (Fullerton, CA)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen - A Little Hard to Swallow
A "semi-autobiographical novel," this book deals with a couple who have a baby born with a host of severe disabilities. As a parent of a child with a disability myself, I had trouble with this story in which the parents struggle not only to come to terms with their child's disabilities, but to even love her. Apparently, the author who actually has a daughter with the very disabilities as the child in the book wrote the story as a way to have the characters behave in selfish and outrageous ways that perhaps many parents think about but don't actually act on. Well written, but tough to take on an emotional level.
Penny P. (Santa Barbara, CA)
Mouse Proof Kitchen
I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my book club. I think the author was able to take a difficult subject, that of raising a disabled child,and still have the book be entertaining and insightful. The mice (rats) are really just symbolic of all the things we would like to be able to control in our lives but can't. As always, I am heartened by the love that most mothers have for their children even when it comes at a great cost to their own personal freedom. It is a book that I will remember.
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)
A Touching Journey of Love.
Raising a profoundly mentally and physically handicapped child is incredibly hard on a marriage. Moving from London to a decaying farmhouse in the remote region of Languedoc in France because they couldn't afford the properties in Provence doesn't help their situation.Anna and Tobias each cope differently with Freya's problems. Tobias hides in his music studio while Anna tries unsuccessfully to mouse proof her kitchen. Kitchens can't be truly mouse proof and life isn't foolproof either. A touching journey.
M L (Lords Valley, PA)
Mouse Proof Kitchen
A heart warming account of a couple blessed with a special baby and their challenges as they relocate to a handyman's house in beautiful Provence, France.
Mother Ann adores her infant girl, Freya but Tobias, her gentle, music loving
husband is not so sure whether he wants to keep this child or institutionalize her.
In her attempts to "mouse proof" her kitchen and her life, Anna realizes the enormity of the chore. But this warrior woman stays the course through plagues and problems, making an old house a warm, inviting home.
As Anne opens her heart and home, wonderful, supportive new friends and her mother-in law appear who all love the infant, Freya. Tobias, too, enters this journey of the heart.