Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)'s Reviews > From the Kitchen of Half Truth

From the Kitchen of Half Truth by Maria Goodin
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it was amazing

I enjoyed reading this book very much. It was like curling up under a blanket on a rainy day. When I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to start reading it again and the words just flowed beautifully.

The stories that Meg's mother, Valerie, tells her about her childhood all reflect cooking or food in some way. This makes sense as Valerie's passion is cooking. She has filled Meg's head with wonderful stories and created this fantastical world where the scar on her head is from a bite from a crabcake; that they once had a spaghetti plant growing in their windowbox; that one summer the runner beans that they had picked all got up and ran away. It is that last story about the runner beans that makes Meg realize at the age of 8, that maybe everything her mother tells her isn't the truth. She decides that she is done with make believe and from there on out everything has to have it's basis in fact. Unfortunately, she has already been labeled as a 'liar' and kind of nutty for believing these stories and so her life growing up is a lonely one.

When she is 21 she goes back to spend the summer with her mother as her mother is dying. She is still full of spirit though and greets each day as if nothing is wrong. Meg tries to get her mother to tell her about her childhood, as well as face the fact that she is dying, but her mother continues to spin her fanciful tales and avoids the truth. The gardener that Valerie has hired, Ewan, is very taken with Valerie and shares his own tales with her. Try as she might, Meg just doesn't have the same connection to her mother that Ewan does - or maybe we should say the same acceptance that Ewan does. She continues to dig for anything that might tell her something about her childhood.

I will say it again, I really enjoyed reading this book and was sorry to see it end. It had lots of little bits of wisdom tucked into the quirky tales - some of which were quite humorous. I loved the relationship that Meg had with her mother, even if she wasn't quite as satisfied with it as she felt she should be. Even though she wanted answers to her questions, she also wanted to protect her mother as anything to do with her past seemed to upset her.

I think this would be a good book for a reading club- lots of stuff to discuss about relationships - those between mother and daughter; best friends; spouses or potential spouses. There is also the big question that they raise in the synopsis - what kind of tales will we spin to give us the lives that we want?
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 22, 2013 – Shelved
April 22, 2013 – Finished Reading

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