Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A sneaky book

This book sneaked up on me.

I was buying plants at a nursery and a postcard for this book was on the counter by the cash register.

I stuck the postcard in my purse.

A few months later, I got the book from the library.

I love memoirs. I especially love hillbilly dysfunctional family memoirs (The Liar's Club; The Glass Castle).

But I also find myself attracted to memoirs of rather mundane lives.

You know how you get hooked on somebody's blog who just writes about her day-to-day life and you find it oddly interesting and read it every day?

That's sort of how this book was for me.

When I first started it, my reaction was kind of "meh" (as those cooler than me sometimes say) and which translates to "so what?"

I mean, a newly divorced woman who moves into a fixer-upper and bribes her 12-year-old daughter to accept the circumstances by offering to buy her chickens?

So what, right?

But then, somewhere along the line.....I found myself really interested.

Must be a sign of good writing.

One thing I loved about this author is her ability to include the most mundane details that add a rich layer to the story - details that a non-writer might not ever notice - or might notice and not know she noticed, if that makes sense.

For example:

Where furniture used to be were now coins and pens and chew toys rolled in dust.

We've all seen that.

But I think good writers see that in a different way than a non-writer. A good writer sees it and files it away and brings it back so that the reader goes, "Oh yeah! I've seen that!"

The non-writer sees it, does not file it away and does not even remember it until reading it and thinking, "Oh yeah! I've seen that!"

(But then again, SOME writers find this behind their furniture....)

Still Life with Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer

2 comments:

Niobium said...

I loved The Glass Castle. Another book you might enjoy reading is "Make Me Into Zeus's Daughter" by Barbara Robinette Moss.

Augusta Scattergood said...

I just finished Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. Another small wonderful memoir that took me by surprise. I love when that happens!
G.