Monday, July 25, 2011

BookClubSandwich: The Kitchen Daughter

It's that time again! Time for a BookClubSandwich discussion, and this time we're tackling Jael McHenry's The Kitchen Daughter.

My partner in crime--Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness--e-mailed me last week asking if I would mind kicking off discussion. I didn't mention at the time that this book didn't work out for me in a couple of different ways. Surprise, Kim! I hate to be that discussion leader in the blogosphere who has a reputation for not finishing assigned reading, but sadly, I may just be that person!

I got this book wayyyy ahead of discussion time. I believe I was just wrapping up two of my favorite reads of the year, ROOM and Everything Beautiful Began After. In other words, The Kitchen Daughter had really big shoes to fill--something that is decidedly not the novel's fault. I was initially very attracted to this book because I love foodie fiction. Something I did not realize is that the main character is Asperger's-afflicted--something I have hit and miss luck with in books.

At first the premise was intriguing enough. I like that Ginny could conjure the dead with her cooking and that she fled to the kitchen in times of stress. However, this premise was not enough of a grabber to keep me going. I found Ginny really hard to "be with" in the book. Her nervousness and social anxiety just made me feel nervous and anxious and drew the book out to a point that was almost painful for me to read. It grated on my nerves, got a bit under my skin, and ultimately I did not finish. I intended to! I tried to get it back from the library (and remain #2 on the holds list), and I just couldn't convince myself to buy the e-book version with some pinchy financial stuff going on at my house.

Now, I want to know what I missed! What did you think of the  book? What were the best and worst bits? How do you jive with characters whose personalities overwhelm you? These and a number of other questions are fair game for discussion.

Please post your thoughts on your own blog and leave a link in the Mr. Linky below or the comments section here. I can't wait to read what you all thought, and Kim will wrap things up toward the end of the week. For now, The Kitchen Daughter is my third DNF of the year.



13 comments:

  1. It's been a while since I read this one, but I loved it. I had hoped that Ginny and Gert's son would end up together and it kind of bummed me when they didn't, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

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  2. I really liked it. I think it may have helped to read it in three days. I can see that it would be difficult to get back to if you stopped.

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  3. I had the same hopes as Kathy! That story arc ended up surprising me, and although it didn't have a happy resolution (total spoiler...he ends up killing himself because he can't handle his grief) I still liked the direction that the author chose to go...mostly because it was so unexpected.

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  4. Kathy, I'm glad you had good luck with it. It just didn't strike the right note for me. Sadly. Maybe I'll get back to it when I'm more in the mood.

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  5. Joy, I can see where it would help to plow right through. Stopping in the middle of any book can be detrimental to my reading.

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  6. Jill, I can appreciate it when an author goes in some unexpected direction. I love me a surprise!

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  7. It is interesting that you commented on how uncomfortable Ginny made you feel. I felt her discomfort but that is what helped me really picture her character and contributed to my enjoyment of the book.

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  8. I agree with Kathy and Jill -- I expected Ginny and David to end up together, but I was actually happy when they didn't (not the way they didn't, but that it wasn't predictable).

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  9. I like that she and David didn't end up together - that was actually my favorite part of the book because it is so unexpected! I was afraid it would have a predictable, happily ever after ending. I mean, if this is real life, of course I'd want them to be together. But in a book, I like unexpected twists. How she revealed it was done brilliantly.

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  10. I have this one on my list since it seems that most reviews are positive. Given that I'm dieting right now I probably don't want to read anything which has food featured too prominently in it!

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  11. I really liked this one, although it was awfully sad. The premise intrigued me tho, as I have always found such comfort in the rituals of baking.

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  12. Yes, I loved the unexpected ending!

    I was a little apprehensive about the "ghost story" part of the novel ... but it took only the first chapter for me to totally embrace it.

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  13. Loved this book, cried at the end, and can't wait for more from this author. I urge you to try it again! :)

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