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The Kitchen Daughter Paperback – Dec 20 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (Dec 20 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451648502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451648508
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #111,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“This fresh, sharp story has as many layers as a good pÂte À choux.”

O, The Oprah Magazine

"For Ginny Selvaggio, the protagonist of Jael McHenry's captivating debut novel, food is a kind of glossary and cooking provides its own magic, whether it's summoning the dead or softening the sharp edges of a world she finds neither comfortable nor familiar. THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER is sweet and bitter-sharp, a lush feast of a novel about the links between flavor and memory, family and identity."

- Carolyn Parkhurst, New York Times bestselling author of DOGS OF BABEL and THE NOBODIES ALBUM

"Magical, strong, and compelling, The Kitchen Daughter asks what is normal, how well do you know your family, and where does grief go? Jael McHenry blends seemingly unmixable ingredients into sustaining answers. I read this book in one satisfying gulp and smiled in comfort when I’d finished this distinctive, nourishing, and wise novel."

- Randy Susan Meyers, author of the international bestseller, THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTERS


"Jael McHenry's debut is a blast of fresh air, featuring an utterly original heroine who filters her view of an unpredictable world through her love of food. A fresh premise, terrific writing, and memorable characters blended beautifully - and made me devour The Kitchen Daughter."

-- Sarah Pekkanen, author of SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME

"Equal parts sweet and savory, THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER by Jael McHenry is a fresh story with all the comforts of home. Ginny’s ability to conjure ghosts while dabbling in family recipes is so touching readers will want to pull up a stool. A heartwarming debut."

- Lynne Griffin, author of SEA ESCAPE and LIFE WITHOUT SUMMER

"This debut novel from Jael McHenry is everything you want in discovering a new writer. The Kitchen Daughter is subtle and effortless and emotional and lovely. The food and recipes aren't gimmicky add-ons, but integral to the momentum of the story -- and they make you want to run to the kitchen, except then you’d have to stop reading. It's a layered and satisfying tale."

- Stacey Ballis, author of GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT and THE SPINSTER SISTERS

"Gorgeously written and uniquely delicious, The Kitchen Daughter follows an endearingly awkward character after tragedy upsets the fragile order of her world. Jael McHenry is a true wordsmith who shines in evoking Ginny’s perspective of family and food, her compelling sense of self, and her eventual understanding that you don’t have to be like everyone else in order to belong. A feast of words that makes you glad to be a reader."

- Therese Walsh, author of THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY

“A delectable family drama, The Kitchen Daughter whips up a sumptuous blend of suspense, magic and cooking. A nourishing debut.”

—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want

The Kitchen Daughter is tender, charming and not at all what you expect—which is what makes it a true gem. A beautifully written, boldly thought out tale.”

—Monica Holloway, author of Cowboy & Wills

“A unique voice, richly drawn characters, and a dash of magic—all the right ingredients!”

New York Times bestseller Lisa Genova --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jael McHenry is a talented and enthusiastic amateur cook who blogs about food and cooking at Simmerblog.com. She is a pop culture columnist and editor-in-chief of Intrepid Media and a regular contributor to Writer Unboxed. Her work has appeared in publications such as the North American Review, Indiana Review, and the Graduate Review at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in New York City.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 16 2013
Format: Paperback
This book review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm [...]
My Thoughts: I came across this book via another book blogger, The Book Maven, on Twitter. From the synopsis on the back cover and the beautiful picture on the cover (I'm a sucker for a great cover) I decided to pick it up. I was also intrigued of the author combining a magical element with Asperger's.

"The Kitchen Daughter" is a very easy read. This is not one of those fast-paced books where the storyline and plot development takes centre stage. The story is more about the characters, their relationships and general family dynamics . The fact that it dealt with food didn't deter me either! I love how cooking and family 'tried and true' recipes are used not just for sustenance but for bonding between the generations. That is so awesome!

This book has a twinge of magic in it which I, of course, enjoyed. I'm not talking about wizards and werewolves and other paranormal fare. It's more of a quirkier, subtle magic. This book has the same magical feel as Sarah Addison Allen's "Garden Spells". I think it creates a lighter feel to a rather serious book.

Going into this book I honestly have to say that I only had a very basic understanding of Asperger's which is only due to the fact that I know two children that are affected by this syndrome. Reading more and more about Ginny's symptoms made me better understand the symptoms that I've seen firsthand (which, admittedly, I didn't realize were symptoms until reading this book). Educating myself about Asperger's is what I loved most about this book. It's an eye-opening, real account of what it's like to live with Asperger's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 4 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ginny Selvaggio is twenty-six-years-old and attending the funeral of both her parents on a cold December day in Philadelphia. She lives in the family home alone, now that her parents are gone. Her older, domineering sister, Amanda and her husband, Brennan, and their two girls, Shannon, and Parker live in Jersey. Ginny has Asperger's Syndrome which is a rare and relatively mild autistic disorder characterized by an awkwardness in social interaction and by the development of restricted interests and activities.

The house is now crammed full of relatives and friends who have come to the family home to pay their respects to the two sisters who are left alone without parents. Ginny is feeling very uncomfortable and she cannot handle crowds of people, large or small and sneaks away to her safe place - the kitchen.

In the kitchen Ginny can be who she is and feel what she feels when she feels it away from the scrutinizing eyes and words of her sister, Amanda. The kitchen provides for Ginny a safe place, the only space that she is very comfortable with. Along with that come the cooking she does. "The methodical chopping, slicing, and stirring soothe her anxiety and the rich aroma of ribollita, painstakingly recreated from her Italian grandmother's handwritten recipe, calms her senses."

Ginny is in the kitchen drowning out the sounds and chatter of the guests in the other room. Ginny pulls her grandmother's recipe for "ribollita" from its place and begins preparations to make the soup. She has the garlic and onions simmering, and she's gathering the cans of tomatoes, beans, and rice among other things. Finally everything is in the pot and smells simply divine. As Ginny opens the silverware drawer to extract a spoon, she notices her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 19 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: The main character has Asperger's, as do I, and I make it a habit of reading books that portray Aspies.

First, I'd like to mention that this is as far from my regular type of reading as it gets. I don't *do* women's fiction; no matter what the topic I stay very, very far away from it. But when I was introduced to this book I saw the protagonist was Asperger's and I didn't really pay attention to anything else. I just wanted to read it.

I loved this book with a passion. I read it in an evening, staying up to 3:30 am in the morning to finish it; I just couldn't put it down. Ginny Selvaggio was my kindred spirit. The first chapter really introduces her to the reader focusing a lot on her quirks, foibles and what goes on in her mind. I found a lot of myself there in that first chapter, that I knew I was going along for the ride with her. Ginny has Asperger's but has never been officially diagnosed, she doesn't even know herself, which I found odd throughout most of the story seeing as her father was a doctor, well a surgeon technically, but this works itself out by the end. She has unfortunately been overprotected by her parents, her mother virtually taking care of her, leaving the house with her but at the same that same mother does manage to have a wealth of coping strategies for Ginny, insisting she go to school and also insisting she learn the niceties of social discourse. Ginny is now in her early 30s and living at home with her parents, really incapable of dealing with the day-to-day of the outside world as she's never been given a chance.

Then tragedy strikes (this is all in the first chapter, btw) and her parents are killed in a tragic accident leaving Ginny to her own defences.
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