Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Kitchen Daughter

I've finished reading another few books after this one, but those are nothing special to blog about. What I want to write about is this book: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry.
This book was a recommendation by one of my friends on Facebook. I put it on hold at the library and picked it up a few days later. I was already reading another 5 books at the same time, so I decided to have this one wait until I got at least two of the other books finished. So, I finished all 5 and picked up this book... and finished it in less than 24 hours.
Yes, this book is that good. It's the type of book where if you like to shed a few tears this one will do it. I cried a lot while reading this book... but it really did enjoy it as well.
The book starts off with a funeral - and no, this is not a comedy - and the main character, Ginny, is having a bit of trouble dealing with all of the people in her home. She has trouble when people try to give her comfort or even get too close to her. She doesn't look at faces, but becomes familiar with everyones shoes instead.
As the story progresses, we find out that Ginny has been living with her parents her entire life, even though she's in her mid twenties. She has a sister who is married and has two little girls as well. Her sister, Amanda, is set on just getting Ginny packed up and moved to her own house and have their parents house sold. She kind of just orders Ginny around without really talking to her all that much and had a realtor and potential buyers looking around less than a week after the funeral. Ginny on the other hand, doesn't want to sell the house and has trouble trying to get her point across or in really stopping Amanda from doing what she has planned.
One aspect of the story that I thought was really cool was that Ginny had this ability to call up ghosts by following their recipes. On the night of the funeral for her parents, Ginny accidentally called up her grandmother's ghost who started fading just as she was trying to tell her to not let someone do something. Okay, I know that it kind of sounds dumb the way that I have it written here, but the writer made this work. Really, the story is really cool with this stuff in it and you won't be disappointed.
One of the reason's I was interested in reading this book was because the friend that recommended it said that it was a cool in site as to what goes on in the head of a person with autism. I know that I'm going to start sounding like Ginny here, but I didn't think that was what the author intended on doing. When asked, Ginny insisted that she was normal... there are different kinds of normal. She refused to let her sister try to convince her that she may have Aspergers Syndrome because she didn't want to be labeled. I so agree with her in her specific case. She claimed that she didn't have anything wrong with her, she has a personality. Her father was a surgeon but needed help being able to see people in the eye or even talk to them sometimes. Her mother was who helped him get past those problems so he could become as successful as he was. Ginny knew that she could get past needing to hide in the closet for some alone time and be able to have someone touch her, even if it's just a brush to get past her in the grocery store, without having a total panic attack. The few people that she had in her life and the ghosts from her past helped her realize that she doesn't need to hide and that she could live a normal life.
I'm not going into any specifics on the story here (gasp! Yes, I'm not giving the whole story away this time!) but there are so many times during the story that I can just feel Ginny's confusion and anguish. I can relate with her in so many ways. What this book showed me is that there really is different kinds of normal. I know a couple kids that have been labeled as being "autistic". These kids are just kids... sure, they may have trouble looking at you in the eye, but they can think for themselves just like any other kid that I know. They can talk and have ideas. I've learned that just like with any other person or kid, if you find out what they like to talk about, you can get them talking up a storm and I wouldn't know this person is different than a person that is 'normal'. I've known people and kids that have all kinds of labels: autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis... but all I see are kids and people. Sure, some people have special needs, but then... don't we all to a certain extent? :-)
Oh, one last thing. I think I gained 5 pounds reading this book because Ginny was trying out so many recipes that I just had to keep looking for something to snack on while reading. So, just want to give you that warning... read with a full tummy. :-) :-) :-)

No comments: