Review: Life on the Refrigerator Door

Life on the Refrigerator Door Book Cover

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers, published July 2015 by MacMillan Children’s Books.

Read: October 2015
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Issues
Source: #BooksForTradeUK
#Pages: 240
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Life on the Refrigerator Door is told exclusively through notes exchanged by Claire and her mother, Elizabeth, during the course of a life-altering year. Their story builds to an emotional crescendo when Elizabeth is diagnosed with breast cancer. Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, this is a clever, moving, and original portrait of the relationship between a daughter and mother. It is about how we live our lives constantly rushing, and never making time for those we love. It is also an elegy to how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.


Life on the Refrigerator Door is told exclusively through notes exchanged by Claire and her mother, Elizabeth, during the course of a life-altering year. Their story builds to an emotional crescendo when Elizabeth is diagnosed with breast cancer. Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, this is a clever, moving, and original portrait of the relationship between a daughter and mother. It is about how we live our lives constantly rushing, and never making time for those we love. It is also an elegy to how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.The Review

This was a fast-paced and very quick read told exclusively by notes left on the fridge door between a mother and daughter. While I enjoyed the method of telling the story, I felt that at times it was too rushed, and think the story could have been told with much more depth, and much more effectively, if the notes on the fridge door were interspersed through normal prose. This book deals with a complex relationship, and ultimately a very difficult topic, and I felt it could have packed much more of an emotional punch, and done the topic justice, if they story had have been given the time it deserved.

At different times I felt frustrated with both the mother and daughter – at how they were handling the situation they were in, and at the sheer lack of communication. While many families communicate through texts, email, and notes (I even know a few who have group chats!), those families still take the time to communicate about the big stuff. The mother and daughter in this story never really seem to talk, as the notes don’t really indicate any other form of communication happening outside of them, which also causes difficulties in showing time passing.

At the end, the story did get me and I teared up a little, but I just feel the book had the potential to be so much more. An advantage of the poor communication between the mother and daughter was that it added to the overall moral of the story, as well as the sad undertone, which if intentional did have a purpose, but I feel that may be lost on a younger audience.

The Rating

3/5

Have you read Life on the Refrigerator Door? What did you think? Do you have any recommendations for books told in notes or diary format? Let me know in the comments!

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About Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

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