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The Kitchen Daughter    by Jael McHenry order for
Kitchen Daughter
by Jael McHenry
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ginny Selvaggio has just lost both her parents and is finding the funeral trappings more than she can handle. She thrusts herself in the back of her father's closet with both her hands jammed into a pair of his shoes.

Unusual behavior? Sure, for the average person. But Ginny has Asperger's Syndrome and finds most of life difficult. Her father cosseted her and her mother protected her, trying to make life easier. Never knowing only that she was different, Ginny struggled through life while gaining great satisfaction from cooking.

She became quite proficient as she became more and more knowledgeable about ingredients and spices and herbs and how they interacted.

Now, life as she knew it will change. Her sister wants her to recognize her condition and get help for it. She also wants to sell the family home. Ginny feels she can remain alone and handle day to day living. Ginny and her sister Amanda argue time and time again.

Ginny's big question is, 'What is normal?' Who qualifies for normality? She knows she is not normal but who is? And just what constitutes normal?

The Kitchen Daughter is fiction but it touched my heart. My son was diagnosed with Asperger's, but too late for him. He was born in 1957 and no one understood children with this condition way back when. We were unable to get help for him. He found it difficult to live in the world but he was a kind and loving child.

So I thank Jael McHenry for her enlightening novel. Not only is it good reading but might help others to live with Asperger's.

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