Life on the Refrigerator Door – Alice Kuipers

Hey Claire-bear
Onions potatoes
Carrots and rabbit food for Peter
Ground beef
Bread juice – you choose
If you can carry any more, get a chicken and two cans of beans.”
Claire and her mum life together, but you can barely tell. With both of them having hectic lives Claires always out with friends, her boyfriend, at school or babysitting, and her mom is always, always working. Claire gets increasingly frustrated with this and often makes sarcastic comments, through notes left on the fridge door… but one day, one note Claire finds from her mom changes things forever, and all of a sudden it’s not just that they have no time for each other, it’s that notes are the only way they know how to talk about things properly.

So at 225 pages, some just being two or three lines in length I knew that this book wouldn’t take long to read at all… and it didn’t. It took around 445 minutes but little did I know how much it would smack me in the face in that short a time period.
I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I bought it. I hadn’t checked it out on the blogosphere or Goodreads or even Amazon because IU didn’t know about it when I saw it in waterstones and thought “wow that’s an interesting concept for a book” and it is. The story is told entirely through notes left on the fridge door, you get no other input and it works amazingly well. But I really wish I knew some of how much this book touches you just from those few notes!
This is quite possibly the first book where I haven’t thought “I must write my review now in case I forget anything” because trust me. You are not going to forget anything from this book. It will stick with you and make you think and if you make the stupid mistake of reading it at 10 oclock at night, you aren’t going to be able to sleep for thinking about it. (Thanks to Kirsty from overflowing library who told me this AFTER I started reading… I should have asked people about it first shouldn’t I? You were right!)
Claire and her mom are great characters, you really get a feel for what they are like and to be honest, even though Claire seems a little selfish at times, I’d like to see a 15 year old going through what she is and not being selfish once or twice! Their whole world is shook upside down in less than 9 months and I can bet you that you will be crying by the time you get to September!
Her mom is busy and to be honest, I cant blame her. Yes you have to look after your chil but sometimes you think that putting the food on the table and making sure theres a roof over your heads is the way to do that and at 15 you probably think that your child can and will look after themselves. You forget that they might need you and also, you might need them! I really felt for her mom, she was trying to do all the right things and getting it wrong quite a lot… but I really wanted them to sort things out and actually communicate. It made me sad that they had to speak through messages even when they had been talking because they didn’t know how to say the stuff they wanted to say aloud! They had spent that long passing notes that they just felt comfortable with that, and I think that was one of the saddest parts of the story.
Life on the Refrigerator Door really was a moving story about lofe and you not knowing how long you have with your loved ones. It is a tale of the bond between mother and daughter and the struggles that come with having both a life and a family. Claires mom wasn’t the most stereotypical of moms but like Claire said, she’s her mom and she loves her, no-one else. I wouldn’t change my mother for the world even though we drive each other crazy a lot of the time, and when I finished this book I just wanted to go see her and give her a huge hug. Thats what this story does to you and it was a damn shame that at 11 at night all I wanted was a cuddle off my mum and shes halfway across Europe! Seriously, you have to be strong to read this book, its an emotional rollercoaster and I didn’t stop crying for the second half of it.
I hope that I haven’t given too much away about this book. I think it was so powerful for me because I didn’t know anything about it and I was shocked about the stuff that happened. I want everyone to resad this book but to be honest, have a box of tissues and someone to cuddle near you… you will need it!
Life on the Refrigerator Door was Alice Kuipers first novel. It was published in 2008 from MacMillan Childrens Books. This copy was purchased by me through Amazon.


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