Renkl...has written a lyrical memoir ... A keen observer of the natural world she so clearly loves and seeks to understand, Renkl tells of housing bluebird families, raising monarch caterpillars, the sadness of death in nature, and the chipmunks and squirrels with whom she currently shares her home ... A captivating, beautifully written story of growing up, love, loss, living, and a close extended family by a talented nature writer and memoirist that will appeal to those who enjoy introspective memoirs and the natural world close to home.
Telling stories is in [Renkl's] bones, but those stories are just one part of this unusual book. Dated passages function like bits of memoir, snippets of her life: recalling romantic love, her mother’s depression, her father’s cancer, her own health scares. Those parts will wholly please readers, but Renkl is also a fine observer of the natural world ... Reinkl deftly juggles the two disparate threads of narrative, all of which is shot through with deep wonder and a profound sense of loss. It is a fine feat, this book. Renkl intimately knows that 'this life thrives on death' and chooses to sing the glory of being alive all the same.
In this magnificent debut, essayist Renkl interweaves the natural world of her backyard in Nashville with memories of her childhood and family members. A poetic storyteller, Renkl captures the essence of the moments that shape and haunt her ... Readers will savor each page and the many gems of wisdom they contain.