Monday, May 2, 2011

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry - Review

The Kitchen Daughter
The Kitchen Daughter
Jael McHenry
Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster
272 pgs

"Only difficult people chuck warm biscuits at their dead mothers. I assume."

Ginny is having a hard time dealing since her parents died.  She never realized how much her mother did for her, she just remembers all the times she said no.

"Ma never let me drink alcohol, along with the other things she never let me do: go on dates, get a job, move out, travel to other cities alone...she always said we'd talk about it she's not around to talk about it anymore."

Ginny's sister, Amanda, is resigned to help her.  She sets up a real estate agent to sell the house and told Ginny she would move in with her.  But Ginny doesn't think she needs anyone to take care of her.  She's a grown up.  She's normal.  She just has "a personality." So what if she likes to sit in the closet with her hands inside of her parent's shoes? She also likes to think of food and recipes to calm herself down.  "And the coping always worked."

The more Amanda tries to pack up her house, the more Ginny needs to find ways to cope.  And then the ghosts of cooking pasts start to show up.  And they have information to help her move forward.  And then she meets David, the grocery delivery boy. And she might have her first friend.  And then Gert, the housekeeper, asks her to help cook at the temple.  And she realizes she might be able to do those things her mother said no to.

The Kitchen Daughter is straightforward but not simple. Just like Ginny. The more we learn about her, we see how she has taught herself, with some help from her mom, to cope in a world where she feels uncomfortable and out of place.  The story moves forward as Ginny unravels a mystery that has always been in her face but she never noticed, because she feels better looking down.  The Kitchen Daughter is not just another book about a character with Asperger's.  It's about finding out who your are based on the past but not letting it define who you can be.  It's about moving beyond the label people want to put on you. But also about accepting your limitations without giving in to them. This was a fast read but it sticks with you.  I found myself wanting to know more about Ginny in the future. How will she make it if she doesn't move in with Amanda? Can she look after herself?  This book leads me to do more research into Asperger's.  Also, I want to make a ribollita.  Get this one. It's good.

I wonder if this novel is based on anyone.  I'm asking Jael McHenry and will update when she answers.

About the Author
Jael McHenry is a talented and enthusiastic amateur cook who blogs about food and cooking at the SIMMER blog.

Find Jael McHenry: The SIMMER Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Tour Dates

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Gallery Books for this review copy.


  1. Her warm biscuit line had me doing that ROTFL thing. Love a book that makes me laugh. Thanks for posting about her and her book.

  2. Great review! I too enjoyed The Kitchen Daughter and am curious as you are if she based Ginny on someone she knows. Thanks for checking it out!

  3. I keep seeing reviews for this book everywhere. I think I need to read this now!

  4. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  5. Isn't THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER a fantastic novel!? Yes, Ginny is straightforward, but not simple - what a great way of putting it!

    This is one of my favorite books of 2011 - compelling plot, very interesting characters, and lots of yummy recipes.

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Kathy! Love the lines you chose to share! Thank you so much for being on the tour.


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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