In From the Kitchen of Half Truth, Meg has been lied to for most of her life. Granted they are the sweetest (literally in most instances), endearing and harmless lies. Nothing vindictive or outwardly deceitful, but rather a way to completely re-imagine the past. She’s 21 and her mother is terminal and Meg is now interested in the truth. She once relished her mother’s stories and were proud to pass them on until her friends begin to make fun of her and her teachers told her to stop telling tales. After that, she’s spent her time just smiling when her mother told her unreal stories of dancing vegetables and getting trapped in a bubble. Meg hid herself in science and fact. Her boyfriend, Mark (whom she only seems to tolerate more than enjoy him) pushes her for the truth. I don’t think that without his prodding Meg would actually pursue any type of truth. That seems to be his only contribution to the story.
The only character that can be identified with is that of the mother. Her story, her life, and her sacrifices are touching. Meg’s character vacillates too much and it’s hard to determine how she will react to events at any given time. The gardener is intriguing, but we don’t get to see enough of him; I feel like he needed a bigger role in the story as he seemed to have so much more to contribute. Bits of the story are contrived; feeling is fabricated in places where the characters seem to be lacking. A lot of the story is obvious, while other parts are overly convenient. An object falls from a suitcase that in theory Meg has seen many times before. The object leads to the truth, with little or no resistance, except that of Meg’s willingness to learn her own past.
I really wanted to like this story with a promise of intriguing family secrets and tales. And the thought that sometimes it may be best to tell a different story than that which actually occurred. Sometimes as loving family members, we tell lies to protect those that we love. The truth could be too painful or hold heavy consequences. The writing itself is easily readable, but the novel comes up short in the end.
Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.