I came across this book during my search for anything by Nora Roberts at my library’s book sale about a year ago. What first intrigued me was the title. How would author Alice Kuipers share with her readers the lives of a family through whatever would be on a refrigerator door? As Kuipers’s first novel, what is to be expected?
As I pulled the book from between its neighbors on the collapsible table, I noted the details of the cover. The title, Life on the Refrigerator Door, is not capitalized. A picture of a brief note rests in the bottom right corner, allowing the reader to assume the front cover the door of a refrigerator. Flipping through the pages, I saw no paragraphs, no complete sentences. The entirety of the story is composed of brief notes, such as the picture on the cover.
Holding up the Story
The notes that comprise the story are written by a mother and her daughter. They are how the two communicate mostly, as their schedules prevent them from spending much time together. The notes range from the mother’s grocery lists to her daughter’s updates on her dating life. Many of the notes written by Claire, the daughter, are brief explanations of why she is not home in the evenings. An event occurs in the mother’s life that will change the both of them forever, which is evident by the change of tone in the notes Claire’s mother leaves on the refrigerator throughout the story.
I have always preferred strong descriptions of characters, events, places in the novels I read. Life on the Refrigerator Door is an exception I have made that has allowed me to open my eyes to what the lack of detail can do for the reader. Kuipers proves that a story is capable of enticing readers even without plenty of description to carry the reader along. A few simple words, sometimes not even complete sentences, on each page lead the reader through a world that may be unfamiliar or quite familiar. The reader learns of a mother’s struggle to connect with her teenage daughter in a time of need. The lack of detail in this story makes the plot-line even stronger, leaving room for the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. This allows for a stronger connection between the reader and the characters Kuipers has created. The reader is able to mold the characters into the shapes of people in the reader’s life.
Kuipers presents a story that touches the lives of many readers by keeping the content of this piece brief and, in turn, particularly powerful. This quick read will not disappoint its reader. Read Life on the Refrigerator Door to watch the relationship grow between a mother and daughter during the most difficult struggle many people ever face. From grocery lists to meeting times, the unique style Kuipers uses in her story intrigues a number of readers. Will her very first novel magnetize you, as well?