This book was such an unexpected joy that I had to choose it. The prose is lyrical; the snail’s world, and the author’s, so vivid. I know, I know! But, yes a book about the sound of snail’s, ahem, table manners.…? Yes, the very book with which to start your new reading year.
Here’s my review from my September 20, 2016 post–it should convince you.
At 34 author Elizabeth Bailey is struck with a mysterious illness that leaves her bedridden.
“As the months drifted by, it was hard to remember why the endless details of a healthy life and a good job had seemed so critical.” (p.10).
During a “strong” day she finds a small snail and brings him/her (snails are both) into the house to live in her potted plant. But, these are just the facts. The story, …well the story! Oh my! What a story! I loved every word! I felt her absorption in this tiny being’s world. I felt the wonder, the worry and the joy. This is a true introvert’s delight. The snail gives her something to go on for–something her size (the size of her strength at that time) to inspire her.
Gradually, though, Bailey gets better, stronger. The snail, whether lonely or due to some innate need to continue the species, reproduces–this part has a few magical sentences. Observing the tiny eggs, the caring parent–is a revelation to Bailey–she very well may be the only person to observe this. But one snail is a lot when you are bedridden. It’s enough. The 100+ offspring….that’s another story. (FYI: They were humanly released back to the wild).
“The previous spring, when I could do almost nothing, spending time with a snail had been pure entertainment. But as my functional abilities improved just a bit, watching a snail began to take patience. I wondered at what point in my convalescence I might leave the snail’s world behind.” (p. 152-152).
Finally, Bailey is well enough to return home. Her dog is back with her. But the love of the snail has made her delve into real research about the snail–both while ill and after. The product of her observations, her fascination and her research is this incredible little book.