Janice S. (Scotts Hill, TN)
An Emotional Rollercoaster
The author comes very close to the reality faced by parents who have their lives planned and are totally disrupted by the birth of a special needs child. You will struggle with them as you take an emotional journey filled with laughter, tears,sadness, happiness , and the search for balance in a world that is spinning out of control.
You will ride an emotional rollercoaster from the depths of despair, to the miracle of love and hope. You can no more mouseproof the kitchen than you can protect your heart from the gift of a child, even one born with many disabilities.
Alice S. (East Haven, Ct)
Sometimes life gets a little messy
This statement is on the cover of the book and is a good way to describe the story. Not only is the house Tobias and Anna buy in France a little messy, but they have a very disabled child who is for them emotionally messy.
As a parent I remember having a discussion with my husband while I was pregnant about "what if".
The feelings and attitudes about whether they can accept this child who will be a terrible burden on them for the rest of her life seemed to be an accurate description of what a young couple would go through. It is also a reminder that if you have a healthy child it is a blessing.
Lynn R. (Wautoma, WI)
Very Unusual Life
I just did not care very much about this book. Unlike some of the other readers, I felt the characters in the book weren't real. Anna and Tobias, at first, do not really accept that their new baby is not going to get better, and I would imagine that that part is quite true when a severely disabled child is born. But the other characters in the book seemed unreal to me and more than a little crazy. Their weird neighbors, Anna's mother and Lizzy, the young girl from no where were just untrue to me and just very confusing inserted into a story that was serious. The fact that these people just moved in and out of there house without knowing anything about them just doesn't fit in with real life to me. Maybe people in Europe are just different, but I don't think they could be that different and totally accepting of unknown people in their lives.
The fact that Anna & Tobias had mixed and changing emotions about their severely disabled child, their marriage and life is the only part that rang true to me. Having normal healthy children can put pressure on any marriage, let alone having one as severely disabled as Freya was.
I just did not care for this book, but as I read the other reviews, I guess I am in the minority.
Jan T. (Leona Valley, CA)
The Mouse Proof Kitchen
I loved this book! It is a story of a couple who bring a disabled baby into the world. It is a journey of the heart told with warmth and humor. The couple struggles with not knowing what the future will bring. The characters met after a move to a mouse infested farmhouse are developed with realism. This is a heartwarming read. I highly recommend it to all kind-hearted readers.
Karen R. (Locust Grove, VA)
An emotional and satisfying read
The more I read, the more this book captured my interest and increased my compassion for the parents of a severely disabled child, Freya. At first thinking each selfish, I sympathized with both Annie and Tobias and the path each chose to survive emotionally, fumbling along in their own way dealing with the constant care and seizures of Freya. Sadly as happens in real life, the nurturing of their relationship often came last. To make their lives even more complicated, they move from London to a crumbling, rat-infested farmhouse in a remote town in France. Some of the locals who became a part of their circle, Ludovic, Yvonne, Julien, were charming characters. Although a work of fiction, upon reading Sara Shah's notes and acknowledgements, the symptoms and prognosis of Freya mirror those of the author's own daughter. The strong emotions captured in the book come from a place in her own heart. Very well done and gave me tremendous insight and renewed appreciation for the caregivers of the world.
Elizabeth L. (Beavercreek, OH)
Beautifully written story on a difficult subject
It takes a special gift to take a difficult subject (profoundly disabled child) and make a beautiful story from it. The author's personal experience with a disabled child makes this story shine. At various times I loved and sincerely disliked both Anna and Tobias which made them seem all the more like real people who were struggling with how to cope when life isn't want they wanted or expected.
The supporting characters were finely drawn and every character was entirely believable. This is a story for anyone who has struggled to fit into their life or make their life fit their expectations.
It hits exactly the right note; not too cheery to be genuine and not too depressing to enjoy. Excellent read.
Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
I liked this story overall, and the writing style enabled me to read it quickly, but it has to be the most depressing novel I ever read.
There are two sayings that came to mind while reading this book: 1. If it wasn't for bad luck, there would be no luck at all, and 2. If there wasn't any laughter, I'd be crying right now.
The author used levity for the first half of the book, but when the laughter ran out, it put this reader more and more into despair.
The ending changed all the negatives into a positive for me and after I read the author's notes, the story made more sense, as if Ms Shah wrote this book as therapy for coping with her own real-life daughter's disability at birth.
I am looking forward to her next book. (if there is one)