Friday, April 5, 2013
From the Kitchen of Half Truth by Maria Goodin
Meg May is a twenty-one year old scientist, firmly rooted in the rational world. Her mother is her complete opposite, a loving woman that is passionate about cooking; she has told Meg all sorts of fantastical tales throughout her life about her birth and childhood. Valerie, Meg’s mother, has told her how she met her father, a French chef, when she was just sixteen, but that he then died from a tragic pastry accident. Meg came out a “little undone” so her mother left her on the window sill in the sun to rise. As much as Meg wants to know the truth about her childhood, she can’t get her mother to move beyond the tales.
Meg finds out that her mother is sick, and not only sick, but dying. Meg leaves school to take care of her mother and also to search for the truth about her childhood. Her boyfriend, the rational Mark, is not a fan of her mother, but the cute, but exasperating gardener, Ewan, seems to know exactly how to make her mother feel better. Meg soon finds that looking for the truth is like opening Pandora’s Box. You may find what you are seeking, but it is not always wanted you wanted to find.
I LOVED this book. I liked the hint of romance, the mystery of Meg’s past, but most of all, I loved the relationship between Meg and her mother. Meg started off the novel truly exasperated by her mother, but by the novel’s end, she has grown to understand and appreciate her mother for who she was. It was a great story of personal growth and understanding that I think we all have about our mothers as we grow older. While the novel was sad as Meg had to confront that her mother was dying, it also had many light hearted moments that made me laugh out loud. One such moment is when she thinks this about her boyfriend, “I sometimes think that Mark should wear a spandex leotard, a mask, and a cape with an enormous R printed on the back. Rationality Man to the rescue, applying logic in the midst of chaos.”
The novel was beautifully written by author Maria Goodin, a new British author. Some of my favorite lines included:
“I try to imagine a world without you in it. A world where I have no one to call when I can’t remember the recipe for chicken soup; where no one bakes my favorite chocolate cake on my birthday; where no one rings me on a cold winter’s morning just to check if I have warm socks on. . . A world where no one says, ‘Do you remember when. . . ?’ or ‘When you were little. . . ‘
“What happens when you don’t know the truth but you can’t believe the lies, when you can’t find a way – through fact or fiction – to give meaning to your own existence? Without a narrative for your own life, do you ever really exist at all?”
“On Christmas Day, snowflakes made of sugar drift down from the sky, and in spring the cows grazing in the meadows produce banana milkshakes. There are little bridges made of gingerbread and picket fences made of pastry. . . “
Overall, I highly recommend this unique and wonderful novel. I loved it and I think my book club would really enjoy it as well. It has a reader’s guide in the back that would be good for book clubs. I always think of good books as books that I think about long after I have finished reading them. I finished this book Tuesday night and I’ve been thinking about it since then. A good book can also reduce me to tears, which From the Kitchen of Half Truth did as well.
Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!