However, this time there is an extra measure of goodness. Whenever Ginny reads a recipe card and begins to cook, the ghost related to that particular handwritten recipe appears in the kitchen with her. Yes, it happens more than once. It's wonderful when she meets her dad's ghost in the kitchen. She learns more about him than she knew while he was alive at home and at work. This is good because Ginny has found a mystery stash behind a brick in their Pennsylvania home. What she finds makes her ask question after question. If her dad's ghost had not appeared, she might have gone along for the rest of her life thinking her father might have been unfaithful to her mother or worse.
At first, the chapters did begin to become belabored. I wanted Ginny out of the kitchen. I wanted her to put away the garlic, peppers, red, yellow or green, and the eggs. I wondered did these ghosts have the power to lead her out of the past and present and to the future. By golly, Jael McHenry must have heard me. Ginny and Amanda's life went pop, pop, pop-pop. Life begin to happen. It came at these women from every direction. This is one reason I liked the novel, the KITCHEN DAUGHTER. The story explodes like July Fourth fireworks. In other words, the story is not cut by an exact pattern that you've read time after time. Plus, I still had the delicious smells going on in the kitchen. If not in Ginny's kitchen, then in the community kitchen where Gert and her friends prepared meals for the bereaved.
The novel has a light mystery to it too. Nonna, grandma, a ghost tells Ginny "do not let her." Well, who is her? Don't let her do what? Ginny wondered. I wondered. I did know that it's best not to ignore a grandmother's words especially if she's returned from the dead with a special message.
Ginny's life helped me "see" what Asperger's syndrome is like for a person. I felt badly for Ginny whenever she had to hide in a closet, felt people touch her or just felt like screaming like she did outside her sister's door. That is a another good thing about the KITCHEN DAUGHTER. The characters change and grow. Perhaps, they didn't always do it the way I wanted, but there were visible changes.
I also really enjoyed the handwritten recipes at the beginning of each chapter. I have chosen a couple to try one day. I like the way Ginny could relate any incident in her life to chopping an onion and other kitchen cooking duties. I also liked reading excerpts fro the normal book. Here is one of the times where Ginny compares cooking to a breaking heart.
"Heartbreak is STUPID and impossible. Hearts don't break. Hearts squeeze, they wench, they ache, they shrivel. Hearts pull apart in wet chunks like canned tomatoes."
In the end, there is a universal lesson. The living are always more important than the dead. How to help a loved one or a friend go through a losing a loved one is never easy. Yet, death is a part of life. Something I find hard to accept. I have to know there is a time to move on from the thoughts of whom I lost to think about the living ones who are crying or suffering silently. There is a way to give them comfort and myself comfort. I just have to use the hands on approach like I would if I were using an old family recipe.