At forty, May Attaway is more at home with plants than people. But when she is unexpectedly granted some leave from her job, May is inspired to go out and visit four once-close friends. What might the world have had if, instead of waiting for Odysseus, Penelope had set out on an adventure of her own?
Kane’s preternaturally self-aware heroine is an intriguing mix of frustrating curmudgeon and aging ingenue, and in her quest for self-improvement, she voices the doubts and dreams of any woman who has questioned what it means to be a true friend. Rich in subtexts and lush imagery, Kane’s novel is a sure bet for lively book discussions.
A skillful writer can show how things that seem unrelated are actually intertwined. In this way, Kane quietly reminds us that friendships and plants may be deeply rooted but need tending to bloom completely, that words matter, that going back to their roots may change how we think about what we say, and that a quiet life can be a full one. This gentle book grows on you (the puns just keep coming), but it is a refreshing change from the stresses of our digital age or the angst of so many recent books about contemporary life. Entertaining and erudite, I highly recommend this book.
... has too many fun, hilarious, and extremely touching twists and turns to detail further here, and its coming out right around Mother's Day is no coincidence. By the end of the book, I loved May as a character, and I understood her; she reveals elements of her own history and choices slowly, in dribs and drabs. She doesn't need me to like her, though. She has her plants, her father, some new or revitalized friendships, and her own sharp and witty mind to keep her company. She is no Grendel — only a deeply alive human.