The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

The Kitchen DaughterThe Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
Published by Gallery, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Review copy provided by the publisher in conjunction with TLC Book Tours

Twenty-eight-year-old Ginny Selvaggio’s parents have just passed away unexpectedly, leaving Ginny and her older sister Amanda reeling. Ginny, an incredibly shy and sheltered person who shows signs of Aspergers, retreats into herself and her cooking to cope with her pain, while Amanda focuses on trying to take care of Ginny by forcing her to move out of their parents’ home and in with Amanda and her family. Ginny is convinced that she should stay in the house, and a warning from her deceased grandmother helps cement this belief in her mind. But she needs to work on figuring out how she fits into the continuum of “normal” and, more than that, how she can convince her sister that she is normal enough to live her own life.

The Kitchen Daughter is an incredibly charming novel, one that I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with it. While the novel deals with the very sad topic of losing one’s parents, McHenry handles the topic with finesse and her characters really shine. She takes what would ordinarily be a depressing story and makes it the complete opposite of depressing – very hopeful and positive.

The biggest strength of The Kitchen Daughter, in my opinion, is the fact that McHenry created fully realized, interesting characters, characters I felt that I really got to know by the time the book was over. Ginny is the kind of character the reader can’t help but love. She is introverted and shy, sure, but she has a quirky charm that will win over any reader. I loved reading as she came to better understand herself, her disorder, but most specifically, watching her overcome it. The entire book was a journey to her realizing that nobody is “normal”, and that the things about her that were different were important parts of her overall personality.

I can’t help but love a foodie book, and The Kitchen Daughter really fits that mold. The descriptions of the food Ginny cooked were to die for and I could have happily jumped into the book and sat down to a delicious meal with her. While this isn’t your ordinary foodie book – it has tons of depth – the food parts were done so well and reading about Ginny’s cooking literally made my mouth water.

The Kitchen Daughter is a beautiful novel about the power food has in the healing process, and also about one woman’s journey to self-awareness. The characters come alive on the page, as does the cooking! I highly recommend this read.


23 thoughts on “The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry”

  1. I really love foodie books, and will read any and all of them. It also helps that this book has a great plot and characters. This book has been on my list for a few weeks, but after reading your review, I am moving it up!

  2. Definitely alot of reviews out there on this one, and most are pretty good ones. Good characters, food, ghosts…no reason for me not to read this, if it were to throw itself at me (which is the only way I can acquire more books these days).

    1. LOL! If you really want it to throw itself at you, you can borrow my copy. 😉

      I didn’t mention the ghosts much in my review, but that is a rather important part of the story, and one that I personally liked a lot. It added that something extra.

  3. I actually am not a huge foodie book person but the characters and the dealings with Asperger’s sounds really interesting to me. Great review!!

  4. This one is definitely on my list! I adore fiction that includes a food element, and the fact that the author was able to integrate a serious element into such a work makes it sound all the more interesting. Nice review!

  5. We read your post with interest. Not familiar with this particular book. Your comment about the author successfully showing the healing power of food through the story really caught our attention. Good nutrition and health are important to us and appreciate it when a good story weaves those principles into engaging reading. We now plan to read “The Kitchen Daughter.” Confident we’ll enjoy it as much as you did. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  6. Hi Heather, I think that I would love this book. Perhaps we can set a date for the 1oth or 11th so I can prepare some tasty food for you, your mom and grandma. When are you available?

  7. Heather, Your review inspired me to get it as my first book to read on my ebook, KOBO, from Borders. I wasn’t sure I’d like the ebook format, but I love the book as an ebook. As a special ed teacher , it is interesting to read fiction from the voice of someone with Asperger’s. The author helps us relate to Ginny as a young girl, not someone with a disability. In some ways it makes me think of my own daughters.

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