The writing is lovely and evocative, transporting us into another's life and world.
- A girl whose father is a WWII pilot the admits that the war's generals were spoken of as if her family knew them personally. "I knew these men better than my father."
- A woman's sister dies in a car crash. Their mother had died choking on a peanut butter sandwich. (This is not a joke. I was barely twenty when I met a man whose sister chocked to death on a peanut butter sandwich. I worry about this every time I have a PB sandwich.) The woman misses being close to her brother. She drinks too much.
- I related to a woman who lasted only six months in New York City, lacking inner city street smarts and an understanding of the rules. My husband and I lived in the inner city for a year and a half before leaving.
- The fierce need for independence drives a paraplegic to the family's deep woods cabin after his divorce. His brother fears for his safety living alone and pressures him to return.
- A woman visits her grandmother in the nursing home. She is desperately curious about her grandmother's sister, who no one speaks of. Yet that sister's name is embroidered on the family patchwork quilt. The woman asks her mother about this missing family member and is told that the grandmother asked her not to talk about it, "not to carry that particular ghost through the generations." The woman presses for information, battling over who would control the past.
- A man who grew up on a farm grapples with his son's wanting a different life for himself. The son fears his newborn son will never understand who he is without understanding the farm.
- The death of a grandfather brings division between sisters, one who attended him in his illness and death while the other stayed away. Their own needs drive them apart as they try to find reconciliation.
- A single mother watches her only child, a daughter, leave for college. She had gone to California instead of taking a college scholarship, returning home pregnant. Now she is a mother, learning how to let go.
- An elderly man is bedridden in his son's house, his memory teeming with ghosts. He knows his son and daughter-in-law are getting weary while he lingers on. I was reminded of my grandfather Milo, my grandmother's second husband. He lived to be over 101, outlasting two wives and a daughter and three step-children. He wondered why God did not take him. He was unable to walk and was blind, living in my aunt's home. To have one's mind and a failing body is a horrible fate.
- After a miscarriage, a wife takes a break, leaving her husband to struggle on his own for a few days. He is comforted by a neighbor's dog who has adopted him as a surrogate owner. The neighbors are friendly but keep to themselves. The man realizes he did not even know his own wife's heart. He contemplates loss and grief and how we are all separate and alone in grief.
Owner of Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, promotion for books, authors, publishers, and literary organizations, Caitlin has represented several books I have reviewed, The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber, This Is How it Begins by Joan Dempsey, and Wild Mountain by Nancy Hayes Kilgore. Read an interview with Caitlin about her personal library at David Abram's blog The Quivering Pen.