The Red Kitchen


At the age of seven, Barbara witnesses a frightening incident between her parents. She goes on to spend much of her childhood toggling between the happy family she longs for and the unhappy one she’s in but can’t repair. Disturbed by the smell of rotting leaves and an uneasy feeling about her father, she will spend half her life trying to get to the bottom of the reasons why.

As an adult, a summer in Africa allows Barbara to live without labels—wife, mother, daughter, sister—and become the woman she wants to be: funny, compassionate, complex, and often flawed. The Red Kitchen is the story of both Barbara and her mother, who, like many women, both spend much of their lives surrendering to society’s expectation to be one thing while yearning to be another. Ultimately, both women—in very different ways—come of age, find the loving parts of their mother-daughter relationship, and start living their best lives.

My Review

The best part of reading a memoir is getting to know the person behind the story. If the book is done right, it can bring me the reader closer to that person. There is a fine line of how much that person wants to share of their life with tons of people' opening themselves up for judgement. 

In the case of this book, I really felt like Barbara did a very nice job of sharing her story without rushing or leaving bits out. I felt a close connection with Barbara and her mother. Rest her soul. These two women may have experienced heartbreak but they came out of it stronger and for the better. This book is just what women readers are needing in this present day.

Here are a couple of passages that I really liked:

The author's mom's live after her divorce went from black and white to technicolor with new friends and a new sense of independence and feminism. 

"Sometimes I feel resolved and curious about what might come when the energy that was me is released. It is the kind of letting go I yearn for at times--not for death, but for those first moments of fledging, completely free of the nest."


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