The Mouse-Proof Kitchen

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah - 352 pages
Book Blurb:
Anna is a planner. So when she discovers she’s pregnant, she prepares for a perfect new life in Provençe, France, with her perfect new baby-to-be. Anna’s partner, the easy-going Tobias, shouldn’t have too much difficulty tagging along—after all, he’s a musician who rarely starts his day before noon. But all that changes when their baby is born severely disabled.
Anna, Tobias, and their daughter, Freya, end up in a rickety, rodent-infested farmhouse in a remote town in France—far from the mansion in Provençe they had imagined. Little do they know that this is the beginning of what will become an incredible journey of the heart—one during which they learn there really is no such thing as a mouse-proof kitchen. Life is messy, and it’s the messy bits that make it count.

My Review: 4.5 stars
If you’re a gardener, a cook or simply a mother, this book will resonate with you in numerous ways. I adored this book mostly because of the blunt and caustic honesty that made me flinch when I read certain passages; but at the same time I understood and identified with the emotions and feelings behind those words.  This author is a documentary filmmaker and first time novelist, yet the general topic of the book is loosely based on her own life as a mother to a severely disabled child. I believe that because the author truly lives through the trials (and triumphs) of having a mentally disabled child, she can use her dark humor in a way that otherwise would’ve been misunderstood by the reader. I loved these characters and and how nature played such a huge role in their individual lives as well as those around them. There are metaphors at play throughout the book and descriptions that had me touching wisteria and smelling all the ingredients for a good compost. Excellent writing and very real story. Well done.
Quotes I liked:
- “It’s a perfect moment. One of those rare times when you wouldn’t prefer to be anywhere else, doing anything else. Where past and future melt away and there’s only now.”

- “We were running away, I think--but when you run away, of course, you arrive somewhere, and then you have to deal with that.”

- “Anna, the only thing we truly possess is time. We just have to learn what to do with it.”
- “You need to keep a step ahead of nature and you never can, not completely. You need nature and you fear it, you work with it and around it. Above all, you respect it. You pay attention. Making things grow requires structure and discipline.”

-”But of course you must nag Tobias,” she says. “How else is he supposed to know that you love him.”

- “Love is the earth that holds our roots in place. Without it, there’s nothing to keep us from falling over.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Mothers/Daughters, France, Food

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