Yet another wonderful piece from the author of “Chocolat“. I enjoyed reading both. Harris’ pen manages to touch my inner chords by her distinguished touch to all that makes us human: our fears, our hopes, our pain, our aspirations. Her characters feel alive. And the scenery is vivid as we glance through the pages of the book, even on a Kindle. I could easily relate to the characters of this novel, especially Boise (i.e. Framboise).
The story, told by Boise, develops on a small farm run by a widow battling mental health issues, while raising her three children, against the WWII background in rural France. I loved that Harris chose to narrate events through the eyes of a nine year old. War, violence, relationships, food, housework – they all look different to children and adults need to learn to respect that. The story line is on rewind and forward, from Boise’s childhood to her adulthood, to remind us not to judge by appearances, as we never fully know what others went through.
“A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame” – a marvelous opening line. One can say the same about the human life on Earth.
“Lost for words » is a story of a long path to self-love and empathy. Loveday – the name of the main character – moves in the blink of an eye from a carefree childhood into the world of a child in foster care, as a result of domestic violence.
The story line is nonlinear and the flashbacks are moving as they are narrated through the eyes of a 10 year old caught in a family drama, which keeps reverberating in her adult’s life through the choices she makes. The story ends a bit abruptly to my taste, as if letting you wonder about what’s next. There is a charm in that, I think.
I found the central idea of the book in these lines “creative power is in all of you if you give it just a little time; if you believe in it a little bit and watch it come quietly into you; if you do not keep it out by always hurrying and feeling guilty in those times when you should be lazy and happy.”
The book requires a certain openness to spirituality to inhale some of the book’s ideas especially on reason and inspiration and concepts like that.
Brenda Ueland is convinced that we all can and shall write: “But if (as I wish) everybody writes and respects and loves writing, then we would have a nation of intelligent, eager, impassioned readers; and generous and grateful ones, not mere critical, logy, sedentary passengers, observers of writing, whose attitude is: “All right: entertain me now.” Wouldn’t that be truly great? I think so.
She takes a strong stance on critics and argues her case, quite persuasively. Among the many reasons she gives: “Another reason I don’t like critics (the one in myself as well as in other people) is that they try to teach something without being it.”
So, if you want to write you’ll find a supporter in this book. If you are already writing, you might find yourself coming back to the 12 pieces of warm advice this book concludes with.
On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.
We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.
She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser’s. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.
They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to them. He told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.
The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.
As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:
– Oh, darling, your back hurts again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.
– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.
– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.
Mathilde blushed and directed his blue eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”
– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.
We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.
P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.
That’s some tale. I “walked” for miles and miles on the English coast line with this amazing couple – Moth and Ray. The reading made me straighten my back, lower my shoulders and relearn acceptance.
This couple in their 50s lost their home, family business and all income and walked into their next stage with their 8 kg each backpacks. On top of that, Moth was diagnosed with some incurable disease… . They endure, overcome, cry, despair, get up, and move on.
I read some of the reviews after I read the book. Some saw it as a diary, others as a coast guide and national geographic type of writing. Some focused on the homeliness side of the story only. Others on the iterations… It has it, indeed, a little bit of each. As with any reading, we will find there only what we have inside already…
My favourite quote from the book: “A new season had crept into me, a softer season of acceptance.”
– Let’s go for a walk.
– Mom, it’s 2020! Who does this anymore?!
What we did instead was to play and hang out in Adopt me.
I played the baby and Sofia played the mom. A very good mom to a very spoiled brat. My personality online could be quite opposite to the one in real life. I wonder what Freud would say about it… Not that I care.
I chose my outfit – urban romantic glamour, in case you need to know. I decorated my room for a budget of 100 Gamedollars.
We had ice cream and pizza with Ramsay – in this precise order. Oh, Heaven!
We spent time on the playground and by the camp fire. I only had 50 gamedollars on my game account and I spent the time of my life. Because it was time spent with my treasure.
Kids grow. So do parents. When was the last time you played with your kid?