The Mouse-Proof Kitchen: Book summary and reviews of The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen

by Saira Shah

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2013
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Life is messy ... but it's the messy bits that give it meaning.

Anna has a clear plan for her new life. When she discovers she's pregnant, she prepares to finally leave London behind and move to idyllic Provence, France, with her lovable baby-to-be. Anna's partner, the easy-going Tobias, shouldn't have too much difficulty tagging along - after all, he's a musician who rarely starts his day before noon. But all those plans change when their baby is born less than perfect.

Little do Anna and Tobias know that this is the beginning of what will become an incredible journey of the heart, during which they'll learn that there truly is no such thing as a mouse-proof kitchen. The couple and their severely disabled new daughter, Freya, end up in a vermin-infested farmhouse in a remote town in France - far from the mansion in Provence they'd originally imagined. Their rickety home is falling down among them, their eccentric lonely neighbors won't leave them alone, and Freya's hospital stays are becoming frighteningly frequent. Anna must draw on reserves of strength she never knew she had just to keep going from day to day. But will it be enough to keep her family together?

Told with humor and warmth, The Mouse-Proof Kitchen is the moving and thought-provoking story of how the best parts of life are often the most complicated, and how love can be found in the least likely of places.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Shah combines tragedy and humor into a satisfying tale of love, heartbreak, and transformation." - Publishers Weekly

"Although it follows a conventional makeover format, Shah's readable debut, drawn in part from personal experience, touches deeper, less predictable notes." - Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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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.

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.

Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

Excellent
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.

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.

...36 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Saira Shah has won three Emmys for her films Unholy War, Beneath the Veil, and Death in Gaza. She has also written an autobiography, The Storyteller's Daughter. Saira retired from filmmaking in 2003 and divides her time between the UK and France.

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