Ginny's married sister Amanda is well-intentioned but a bit too "take charge," and much of the story is about their conflicts--about whether they should sell the family home (where Ginny still lives), whether Ginny should move in with Amanda's family, and whether Amanda's daughter Shannon might have the same problem that Ginny has. There's also a magical realism element--starting at the funeral, when Ginny cooks something exactly as specified on a hand-written recipe card, the ghost of the person who wrote the recipe appears. Through these appearances, Ginny learns more about her family history and is warned against letting Amanda do something...what neither we nor Ginny know. In another subplot, the family's cleaning lady plots to get Ginny out of the house, and Ginny becomes friendly with her grief-stricken son.
Reading this book is not about the plot--it's about the window into Ginny's mind and her coping strategies (I absolutely love her 'Normal Book" and the way she thinks about cooking and food to calm herself). And it's about pondering what it means to be normal, to help someone you don't really understand, to grieve.
I lose myself in food. The rich wet texture of melting chocolate. The way good aged goat cheese coats your tongue. The silky feel of pasta dough when it's been rested and rested just enough. How the scent of onions changes, over an hour, from raw to mellow, sharp to sweet, and all that even without tasting. The simplest magic: how heat transforms.