Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)
Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah
I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its intelligent, idiosyncratic characters, and its descriptions of Provence. The main character, it can be argued as the plot and characters revolve around her, is Freya, the infant daughter of Anna and Tobias. Freya is born severely disabled; she will be child-like the rest of her life and require constant care. Her mother, a gourmet cook, had other plans--perfect child, perfect home, every detail dovetailed with another. How will she cope? How will her husband respond? They go ahead with their plans and relocate to Provence to perhaps start a restaurant or cooking school. But, like the plans for her family, life doesn't follow Anna's prescription for it. This book poses questions for a reader--how would I respond? What would I do with a situation that will not go away and can't be denied?
Shah infuses her book with love, caring, humor, and humility for all her characters, Anna, Tobias, Freya, Anna's mother, and the miscellaneous idiosyncratic people they attract.
Beverly K. (Lockport, IL)
Strange title, fascinating story
Saira Shah's debut novel gives you a lot to think about-- how do we define unconditional love and does becoming a mother automatically make you feel unconditional love for your child, especially a challenging child. I found this book warm, touching and, at some points, difficult to read without crying. Ms. Shah paints beautiful, detailed descriptions of the couples remote home in France and the locals who grow to become such vital characters in the story. I found this book hard to put down.
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.
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.
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.
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.