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From the Kitchen of Half Truth Paperback – April 2, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Meg May, a genetics student, has always taken extreme comfort in the world of science. Facts are facts, laws are laws, and imagination has no place in the laboratory. Meg wasn’t always so levelheaded. Growing up with a mother who invented stories about everything from garden fairies to Meg’s own upbringing, Meg has only been able to piece together a few details about her father and where she grew up, but hardly anything else. When her mother becomes very sick, it’s up to Meg to figure out how much of her history she’s willing to uncover and how many of her mother’s fantastic stories may have held a shred of truth. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Carol Cassella will appreciate Goodin’s clear, lyrical prose and will relate to stubborn, strong-willed Meg. Peppered with fantastically descriptive stories from Meg’s childhood, Goodin’s debut novel focuses on identity, independence, and the importance of imagination. Funny, tender, quirky, and heartfelt, From the Kitchen of Half Truth is for anyone who has daydreamed about the future or been shocked to find something unexpected in the past. --Stephanie Turza

Review

"Beautifully conveyed...delicate and magical. Happy to recommend this book!" - Marilyn Lustig, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

"From the Kitchen of Half Truth depicts a complicated mother-daughter relationship that anyone can appreciate." - Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petosky, MI

"A mother's perseverance, a daughter's self-discovery, and a brilliant examination of the human psyche's coping mechanisms in response to tragic events. ... Maria Goodin has proven herself a talented storyteller with this debut novel and an author that I look forward to seeing more from in the future." - The Book Barista

"Fans of Sarah Dessen and Carol Cassella will appreciate Goodin's clear, lyrical prose ... Funny, tender, quirky, and heartfelt, From the Kitchen of Half Truth is for anyone who has daydreamed about the future or been shocked to find something unexpected in the past." - Booklist

"A gorgeous tale of love, loss and making sense of the past ... filled with energy and life." - RT Book Reviews

"A story about understanding and compassion and how people often distort the truth to protect themselves and others, Goodin's narrative contains moments of eloquence, wit and sensitivity" - Kirkus Reviews

"Held me captivated from first to last word ... You'll find just a little piece of yourself in all the wonderful characters." - Long and Short Reviews

"There are some novels that grip you with a story so unique, yet so heart wrenching that you can't stop reading. From the Kitchen of Half Truth was just such a novel." - Laura's Reviews

"I tend to form friendships with the books I read; some are acquaintances, some pass through friends and others are keepers. This book is a keeper. ... The characters, are well drawn and 'feel' very real." - Cocktails and Books

"A warm novel that deals with relationships using quirky humour, nature, and the power of storytelling ... Highly recommended." - From the Library of Clean Reads
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402279485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402279485
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It's a wonderfully charming story of self discovery and a mother's love.
Beth Neibert
It made me laugh and at times cry and the characters will be lingering about at the edges of my mind for quite some time.
Drifting in pages
Ms. Goodin writes beautifully and creatively to bring these characters to life.
Jeanene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sara Palacios on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Oh you guys, you guys - this book is lovely. I was drawn in and held captivated from the very first chapter and I loved pretty much everything about this story. The premise of the book revolves around a mother and daughter relationship and I really, really enjoyed the dynamic between the two main characters. Often times in life, we take things and people for granted and this book really examines this idea and runs with it. This book makes you think and remember things from your past and although it starts off fairly light, it picks up pace and really digs deep towards the middle and especially toward the end. From The Kitchen of Half Truth will bring you through a full swing of emotions and you will often times find yourself laughing and sometimes crying - but most importantly, your heart will ache with delight while reading. Such a wonderful debut and I can't wait to see what Maria produces next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drifting in pages on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a Wonderful novel. Having grown up with a mother that loved to tell tales and often being irritated because I felt, "that wasn't what really happened" it helped bring a bit of peace and understanding. Maria Goodin does such a spot on job of describing the often confusing relationship between mothers and daughters as well as how defensive we can become of one another.

As to the story line its self, some of the tales that Valerie tells are hilarious. It made me laugh and at times cry and the characters will be lingering about at the edges of my mind for quite some time.

It's not often that the first thing I want to do after reading a book is write a review!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Margitte on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the beginning of the book:

" I came out a little underdone. Five more minutes and I would have been as big as the other children, my mother said. She blamed my pale complexion on her cravings for white bread (too much flour) and asked the doctor if I would have risen better had she done more exercise (too little air). The doctor wasn't sure about this, but he was very concerned about the size of my feet. He suggested that next time my mother was pregnant she should try standing on her head or spinning in circles (spinning in circles on her head would be ideal) as this would aid the mixing process and result in a better proportioned baby."

Meg's mom had an obsession with food which lead to the most outrageously funny fantasies about her daughter's first five years on this planet. At first I laughed, because the stories were so unbelievably creative and funny. I would not have minded to have a mother with an imagination like that all.

But truth be told, I was seldom so touched by a book that I sat with a mouth full of teeth, not knowing what to say in reviewing a book. If I blurted out 'magnificent', I still would have to explain why, in which case it will become necessary to quote this entire book in the review!

A 21-year old girl, Meg May, arrives home after earning a degree in science. She is coming home to take care of her dying mother. It is soon clear that mom's outrageous fibs and fiction hid a mystery about Meg's childhood that she was unable or unwilling to reveal to Meg.

"Throughout her pregnancy my mother suffered all manner of complications.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Megan VINE VOICE on April 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Maria Goodin's FROM THE KITCHEN OF HALF TRUTH is a haunting, often meandering story of one young woman's quest to learn her roots -- and it's a little hard to define. On one hand, Goodin's writing is reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen: full of magical realism and incongruous details; lilting and lovely, like a cool evening breeze. But Meg's point of view paints her as cold and odd and detached from life, and it was hard to bond with her.

Though I felt Meg's frustration with Valerie, her mother, I couldn't help but be on Val's side. Meg grows up with one loving, present parent, but she can't help questioning her mother's stories about a deceased father who died in a pastry accident and other tall tales. Valerie's stories really are outlandish -- and often sound like the ramblings of a delusional madwoman.

And yet. Valerie's denial regarding her advanced illness softened me to her, and I felt Meg's desperation for answers deep in my gut. As the story progresses and Meg continues her quest for the truth, I was eager to fit the pieces together myself -- and felt Goodin masterfully guided us through the Mays' history. The transitions never felt wonky. Valerie's anecdotes about Meg's childhood were balanced with the present, even though Meg in the present isn't someone I really wanted to befriend.

I guess that's what kept this in "good" territory instead of "great": Meg rubbed me the wrong way. I felt for her, but not with her. Even the emotionally-charged scenes toward the end didn't move me the way they would have if, say, Meg hadn't seemed like such a shell of a person. I felt the love interest introduced partway through was just a distraction, though I did appreciate Meg more by the close. And I might have teared up during one pivotal, community-oriented scene.
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