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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friday's child is loving and giving
Turning the final page of The Mouse Proof Kitchen. I could not let the book go without planting a big kiss on the photo of Saira Shah which adorns the dust jacket. My feeling of love for the author's creation: Anna, was the high tide of a sob which began to ripple through the book as the first chapter concluded.
In the shape of a baby with complex needs, a...
Published 14 months ago by Jim Buck

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A beach read.
Despite its subject matter it failed to move me. I enjoyed it well enough but having finished it none of the protagonists remain in my mind. Much of the practical issues seem to have been resolved or not in a completely unrealistic fashion and I found this very irritating.
Published 13 months ago by Valley


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friday's child is loving and giving, 19 April 2013
By 
Jim Buck "jfbuck" (Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
Turning the final page of The Mouse Proof Kitchen. I could not let the book go without planting a big kiss on the photo of Saira Shah which adorns the dust jacket. My feeling of love for the author's creation: Anna, was the high tide of a sob which began to ripple through the book as the first chapter concluded.
In the shape of a baby with complex needs, a calamitous blessing lands in the laps of new parents: Anna and Toby. Freya is born with 'a brain like scrambled egg'. The culinary simile is apt--mother Anna is a trained chef; but, given such an ingredient, this book might easily have turned out to be fast -food misery fiction. Instead, the bitter herb of tragedy is expertly ameliorated with colourings the narrator garners from the patches of a life, recommencing in rural France. There is: Lizzy--dizzy, damaged, and independable; and Ruth--long deceased heroine of the resistance, whose culinary notebooks remain, vital and communicative. I refrain from listing all the characters in this novel because me serving too many crudités seems not on. Read the novel and allow the fecundity of its epic domestic themes to nourish you, the way it has nourished me. It is very funny too!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and compelling, I was unable to put it down., 14 April 2013
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A beautifully written story of life and motherhood in adverse circumstances. The handling of this subject, written by an author with direct personal experience of these circumstances, injects the surprising ingredient of hope into what could, in less experienced hands, perhaps only have read as a tragedy. Unforgettable, a truly fantastic book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiration, 5 May 2013
This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
As a war reporter, Saira Shah never pulled her punches and as a novelist the same determination still shines through. But this book isn't about war or politics, it's about a different kind of battle -- the kind that any of us could find ourselves having to face. When chef Anna realizes that the baby she has just given birth to is severely brain damaged, her first impulse is to run. This book is about how she grows to love her amazing child and how that journey strengthens her rather than destroys her. This has to be one of the most beautifully written books that I have read, and also one of the saddest. Strange then, that it made me laugh and left me feeling inspired and energized and optimistic. I bought this book because I used to be a fan of Saira's work as a journalist. I had wondered why she had disappeared off the media radar a few years back. The Mouseproof Kitchen does much to explain that absence. She had taken on her most challenging, yet most rewarding assignment to date.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joy in a heartbeat, 2 May 2013
By 
K. P. Centofanti (Toulouse, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
Dazzlingly well written and a story that will leave you feeling vibrant, alive and ready for any adventure that life brings.
When I opened this book and realised that it described the trauma of parenting a profoundly disabled child, I almost snapped it shut thinking:I don't need my heart strings wrung at this moment actually. But by then I was gripped by Shah's literary skills and swept into the swirling torrent of events that surround this dashing, talented and vibrant couple who plunge into la France Profonde for maximum madness with their disabled daughter. Shah has been able to capture the core thrill of life such as is experienced by the brave, the adventurous and those unafraid of facing harsh realities with unconventional methods and exposing their weaknesses. As we plunge into their world we feel that this is more fun, more real and worthwhile than any social conventional idyll. I didn't feel sorry for Anna, Tobias or Freya, in fact I felt inspired and happy to have been admitted into an inner world where joy, sorrow, laughter, sarcasm, fury and elation can coexist and flourish. As the book is also peppered with tantalising titbits of French peasant lore, I felt like starting my own composts as described by Julien and preparing some of the delicious recipes. Amazingly I was left with a feel good factor and joie de vivre which is uniquely expressed with style, wit and clarity. When I reached the end and closed the book I thought "Then what happened?". So I hope there are more tales to come from this not at all mouseproof kitchen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Heartfelt and (sometimes) Hilarious, 6 May 2013
By 
M. Boswell (britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
This book is searingly honest, it is not only a catching and compelling read but also a nessecary account of the emotions that ensue after the unexpected happens. Shah really brings the South of France to life and makes you feel as though you are living every minute, be it grimly moving to moments of exquisite happiness.
A MUST READ for everyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hats off, 13 Aug 2013
By 
This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
It may be a form of generosity to write in such a way that the reader feels as
if he knows the author, personally and intimately. If so, then Saira Shah is as
generous as they come. In The Storyteller's Daughter, that quality was there.
Now, in her first novel...how can a first novel be so great?...that
dynamic is magnified even further.

This reader found the imagery in The Mouse-Proof Kitchen rich and compelling,
and the observations and reflections on human personality and character
keen and original. Most of all, the love that suffuses this book seems
to stay with one, days later. Maybe a bit more has been learned about love
and about how to live, from reading.

Hats off! and thanks to you Saira Shah
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerful stuff, 15 July 2013
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A powerful, poignant, often funny portrait of a marriage struggling under the pressure of raising a seriously disabled child. Chastening and moving, but so much to enjoy, too. Both parents and their child are wonderful characters and their battles with multiple challenges - illness, a crumbling pile in France, disparate ambitions - are believable and add up to a completely absorbing and though-provoking read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cracking read, 13 May 2013
By 
R. Twigger - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
The Mouseproof kitchen features a cast of fascinating and original characters- I was most intrigued by the girl who lived in the shipping container and the guy with the treehouse- interspersed with the accurately rendered story of bearing and bringing up a profoundly handicapped child. The counterpoint of 'dream life in France' with what appears to be a nightmare family occurance provides incredible power to this novel which develops conclusions that are not at all what you might expect. All parents should read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of Triumph through a most harrowing experience, 30 April 2013
By 
R. Thomson (S Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mouseproof Kitchen (Hardcover)
An amazingly generous book describing life after giving birth to a severely handicapped baby who may hardly develop; the complete range of responses of the parents; and surprising glimpses of what it is to be human.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and heartbreaking, 28 April 2013
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I loved this book. Beautifully written, parts of it were totally heartbreaking but still manages to somehow not be depressing. The fact the author has a disabled child herself makes it even more poignant. I think I practically sobbed my way through the first few chapters. Then I very quickly became totally absorbed in their lives and those of the wonderfully written and colourful characters. I read it in about 2 sittings. I'm sure it will stay with me for some time to come. Just beautiful and totally absorbing.
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The Mouseproof Kitchen
The Mouseproof Kitchen by Saira Shah (Hardcover - 4 April 2013)
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