“There are so many flavors of normal, it doesn’t matter which one I am.”
What a fabulous quote from a debut novel that will come out in April, The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry. This is the story of Ginny Selvaggio, a young with Asperger’s syndrome. Her parents die tragically and Ginny and her sister have to coexist. Like many adults today, Ginny’s Aspergers was never diagnosed as a child. I don’t know much about Aspergers so I found this novel both gripping and instructional.
Ginny loves to cook. Cooking is her outlet from Aspergers. The rhythm of following a recipe calms her. As she works through her grief, she cooks ALOT. She finds that she begins seeing the ghost of the person who gave her the recipe she is making. While I thought I would find this hard to believe, McHenry does a masterful job of making the story completely believable.
Ginny’s sister, Amanda, is overbearing and struggling with her own grief while raising two little girls. Amanda recognizes Ginny’s Aspergers and pushes Ginny to acknowledge it though Ginny doesn’t want to.
The recipes cited in the book sound wonderful. I want to make their grandmother’s bread soup. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. McHenry’s writing and character development make her seem like a seasoned pro.
Anyone who has a child with Aspergers or autism should read this poignant book. Despite the grief, it is a story of hope, humor and love. I look forward to Jael McHenry writing another book soon and sharing more recipes with us!
“And the living, all of us, are more important than the dead.”
I love the quotes at the beginning of the book:
“The discover of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind that the discovery of a star.” Brillat-Savarin
“Eat what is cooked; listen to what is said.” Russian Proverb
What are you reading and where are you going?
Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc. provided a review copy of this book for this post. All opinions are my own.