Sandy B. (Dewitt, NY)
A Sweet And Appealing Story
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry is a sweet and appealing story about family ties and an unlikely heroine. Ginny Selvaggio is young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome who suddenly loses both of her parents in a freak accident. Ginny has lived with her parents all her life and her older sister, Amanda, feels that Ginny will not be able to live alone – she is making assumptions about her based on her “disability” and not on her abilities. While Amanda was living her own life, Ginny has learned to handle her differences that others might think of as abnormal. Cooking is Ginny's passion and she uses the steps involved in preparing a recipe to calm her anxieties. Ginny has two special friends who believe in her as well as support from people who were close to her who have died (there’s a bit of magic in the story)! Ginny has an unusual way of dealing with the death of her parents but in the end she makes some startling discoveries about her father and about her own capability to handle this crisis. As a school social worker who has worked with children with disabilities, I found the character of Ginny to be a very accurate depiction of a person with Asperger's Syndrome. I think this story can teach us all something about our assumptions about people who are different than we are.
Alan K. (Westport, MA)
The Ktichen Daughter-Good read!
This is a delightful read with an inventive and enlightening approach to the confusing and challenging world of Aspergers. It is especially fun for folks who enjoy cooking. Highly recommend.
Nina R. (Hot Springs, AR)
The Kitchen Daughter
The more I read, the more I liked this book. Ginny was a delight and the recipes were very different and added to my enjoyment. I expect this to be a big hit with my book club.
Erin J. (Lake Oswego, OR, OR)
Immersed in the life of a foodie with Asperger's Syndrome
I'm nothing like Ginny--I don't much like to cook and I'm very social--but while reading _The Kitchen Daughter_ it was like I was inside her head. I don't personally know what it is like to be anywhere on the autism spectrum, but now I think I have a much better understanding of how it might feel. So I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who has a friend or family member with Asperger's. I'd also recommend it to foodies and fans of magical realism. For readers' advisers, the character doorway is primary, and I'd say that story is secondary because there were some plot twists I was not expecting!
Lisa B. (North Babylon, New York)
Mixing a little magic with the Kitchen Daughter
Jael McHenry's Kitchen Daughter is good book that I went through rather quickly. I read it with delight and despair as I followed the main character, Ginny's path of finding herself an independent place in the world.
It is a story of how a person deals with grief and finds her way through it with the help of food and little magic that comes in the kitchen when she cook's the departed's recipes.
I enjoyed following the tale of this extraordinary heroine and would recommend this book to people who find comfort in their kitchen.
Shyamoli D. (Voorhees, NJ)
The Kitchen Daughter
Kitchen Daughter is a beautifully written novel that deals with family drama, magic and delicious, mouth-watering recipes. The character of Ginny is well created. On one hand she is suffering from the loss of her parents and on the other she is trying to prove to her sister Amanda, that she is a ‘normal’ person. She finds peace through cooking but she also brings spirits in the kitchen which lightens the plot a bit. The use of recipes in the book especially in the beginning of each chapter is endearing. I also enjoyed the similes used by the author like Amanda’s voice as smooth as ‘orange juice’ and ‘his tongue like a ripe slice of mango…’
I will recommend this book to discussion groups because there are so many issues to talk about. The only part I thought that the author should have put more thought into was in the end of the book when Ginny finally talks to Amanda. I enjoyed the novel thoroughly.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)
In one sitting--The Kitchen Daughter
I meant to start this wonderful novel before going to bed, and finish later, but was compelled to finish--encouraged by the imagery and plot. The jacket note says it's about what is normal; but I think it's about whether "normal" is even desirable, and if being close-minded is an appropriate response. I found myself asking questions of myself: Using the senses of smell and taste, how would I describe something? We are generally most dependent on sight and sound.
Am I more understanding of Asperger's Syndrome? Like Ginny, I'd prefer not to paste a name on any personality, as if it were a disease, which carries with it an expectation of a cure. Kitchen's Daughter would be an excellent Book Club read.