I have a little quirk when I’m reading. I love the word akimbo and when I come across it in a book suddenly my day is a little brighter and the book I find it in becomes so much more endearing. I keep a little file of akimbo sightings and I have for years. Enough of my friends know about my love of akimbo that they alert me when they find it too.
I found akimbo on the last page of Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry but by then it just reinforced what I already knew: I had just read a wonderful book.
The Kitchen Daughter is about a lot of things: food and family and love, and being normal. It begins with a funeral and carried me into the strange and not so normal life of Ginny Selvaggio. She is 26 years old and has lived her entire life in the protection of her parents; when they die suddenly she and her sister must come to terms with their grief and must decide how their lives will go on.
There are so many little details in this book that delight me. Akimbo and other words Ginny has had to look up in her life appear with the other words she found on the same dictionary page. Ginny’s life revolves around food; she hears people’s voices and describes them as like coffee, or tomato or orange juice. This is the kind of rich, luscious detail I love in a book. Which brings me back to AKIMBO, just try not to notice it the next time it appears in something you read.
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry is now available in Paperback and can be found in our Staff Picks Section.
Lorna Ruby, book buyer