The Kitchen Daughter
The premise for this book is really interesting--it's told from the perspective of a young woman with autism spectrum disorder who can bring people back to life (temporarily) by cooking their recipes. Because the main character has Asperger's Syndrome, I kept comparing it to the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which I felt to be a much better book. Here, the main character, Ginny, was well-developed, but that wasn't the case with the rest of the characters. The book was an enjoyable read, though, and I think it would be a good book for book clubs because it raises a lot of interesting issues, including whether Asperger's is a "disability" and the different ways people deal with loss. I guess I was just a little frustrated because the ideas raised in the book were really interesting but the execution was somewhat lacking.
Rated of 5
by Carole C. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
Next to Normal
As does the popular musical whose title I borrowed, "The Kitchen Daughter" challenges its audience to question the definition of "normal." Told through the voice of a young woman with Asperger's Syndrome, this book gives the reader insights into the thoughts, feelings, and reactions of Ginny Selvaggio as she struggles with the sudden death of her parents and the persistent demands of her sister Amanda and society at large. Jael McHenry writes with clarity about Ginny's grief, fears, and uncertainties; she writes with passion about the soothing effects of cooking in the family kitchen, following beloved recipes of family members.
While this book is engaging and readable, there are aspects not as convincing or rewarding. The episodes of ghost-conjuring did not inspire a "willing suspension of disbelief" for this reader. Also, the last chapter, really an epilogue, tied up all loose ends without explaining how essential issues were resolved.
Rated of 5
by Cecilia Z. (Montclair, New Jersey)
Interesting story, but too many unnecessary distractions.
This is an unusual novel with a unique narrator, a young woman with Asperger's syndrome, who is coming to terms with her parents' sudden deaths and her now uncertain future. She turns to cooking, which has been her way of connecting and, in her words, finding "normal." How she copes with the changes in her life would have been enough to make this a compelling, well-written novel. Unfortunately, the story takes on other directions - ghosts conjured by her cooking, family secrets and other tragedies - all of which diminish the story with unnecessary distractions. Too bad - it is well-written and would have been much better without these distractions.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...