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Esther L. (Newtown, PA)
A Touching Journey of Love.
Raising a profoundly mentally and physically handicapped child is incredibly hard on a marriage. Moving from London to a decaying farmhouse in the remote region of Languedoc in France because they couldn't afford the properties in Provence doesn't help their situation.Anna and Tobias each cope differently with Freya's problems. Tobias hides in his music studio while Anna tries unsuccessfully to mouse proof her kitchen. Kitchens can't be truly mouse proof and life isn't foolproof either. A touching journey.
Penny P. (Santa Barbara, CA)
Mouse Proof Kitchen
I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my book club. I think the author was able to take a difficult subject, that of raising a disabled child,and still have the book be entertaining and insightful. The mice (rats) are really just symbolic of all the things we would like to be able to control in our lives but can't. As always, I am heartened by the love that most mothers have for their children even when it comes at a great cost to their own personal freedom. It is a book that I will remember.
Lisa M. (Fullerton, CA)
The Mouse-Proof Kitchen - A Little Hard to Swallow
A "semi-autobiographical novel," this book deals with a couple who have a baby born with a host of severe disabilities. As a parent of a child with a disability myself, I had trouble with this story in which the parents struggle not only to come to terms with their child's disabilities, but to even love her. Apparently, the author who actually has a daughter with the very disabilities as the child in the book wrote the story as a way to have the characters behave in selfish and outrageous ways that perhaps many parents think about but don't actually act on. Well written, but tough to take on an emotional level.
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.
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)
Lessons in Love
The Mouse Proof Kitchen is the story of Tobias and Anna whose perfect life is shattered when their daughter Freya is born: flawed. Will they be able to give her unconditional love?
Lynn R. (Wautoma, WI)
Very Unusual Life
Their lives change when they leave England to live in France. They are the new owners of an old farmhouse Les Rajons at the top of a large hill open to the wind on all sides. Their view is of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. The story recounts their struggles with leaky roofs, mold, and rats in the kitchen. Anna gets organized and deals with Freya's demanding and critical medical care while cleaning up and repairing the house for her planned French cooking school or a restaurant for tourists.
Dealing with serious questions of parenthood and desperate housing problems, The Mouse Proof Kitchen is written with good-natured humor of farm life in rural south France that ends happily. I enjoyed the quick read and will read more of Shah's books.
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.
Alice S. (East Haven, Ct)
Sometimes life gets a little messy
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.
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.
Jan T. (Leona Valley, CA)
The Mouse Proof Kitchen
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.
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.