Life on the Refrigerator Door – Alice Kuipers

Life on the Refrigerator Door is a rather bizarre book. I picked it up, ready for a nice couple of days’ worth of reading, culminating in a bit of a weep. The reality was rather different. I got 40 minutes worth of reading and a feeling of confusion when I was finished.

The idea of the novel is fantastic – tell a story through the medium of notes left on a fridge door between mother and daughter. They both lead busy lives, what with work, school, socialising and shopping and so they ‘talk’ to one another through notes. The story progresses as Claire and ‘Mom’ keep missing one another and ‘Mom’ finally insists that they sit down properly and have a conversation. It never happens and so Claire has to learn, through a note, that her mother has breast cancer. The notes continue, talking of treatment, meals, what’s going to happen next, and so on. It does (spoiler!) end sadly, as Claire’s mother passes away but I have to admit, though it sounds horrible, that it didn’t particularly bother me. Not because of the story, but because of the writing style.

Because the tale was written in note form there was little character development and you weren’t following them through every aspect of their lives, and so, it’s difficult to really care about them. And as such, when, 40 minutes after starting, I finished the book, my reaction was ‘oh.’ I was confused, wondering if I’d missed the point, but no, that was it. The RRP of the book is £6.99 – and I would have been really pissed off if I’d spent that much money on less than an hour’s entertainment. Even the cinema is better value than that.

Overall, I’m not saying don’t read it. Just don’t pay full price, or expect a novel. It’s a small distraction, at most. Disappointing.

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