“My grief had been plain and unpoetic, and the hole in my heart would’ve grown wide enough and deep enough to consume me had my mother and grandmother not kept me with them, and still.”
Couldn’t agree more with Rachel regarding the book club conundrum. Sometimes you trade good reads for good friends and good eats. Of course, if you can pick a winner every month you’ve got the whole world in your hands. Seeing as it’s Thursday and I’m thinking about winners, let’s throw it back to a legitimate prize.
Oprah Winfrey did not introduce me to Kaye Gibbons. (She chose a few of Gibbon’s novels for her insanely popular book club.) Finding Gibbons was more roundabout for me. It was part luck, part inquiry, and I imagine the larger part was grace. Reading her novels was a window into her soul; in fact, her authenticity and utter honesty make her books the best policy.
While I have taught her award-winning debut novel Ellen Foster in some of my university writing classes, I’m recommending Gibbons’ fourth novel tonight: Charms for the Easy Life. Charms makes me think that southern women are privy to secrets of life that we all need to unlock. Sophia, Margaret, and Charlie Kate are uniquely independent women who share the same DNA and progressive off-beat lives in a world where men almost always provide for women. Supported by Charlie Kate’s medical practice of her own making, this all-female family develops an imperishable bond as they each experience love and heartache during World War II. The Birches remind me that despite difficulties, I should embrace life even if unorthodox methods are required to do so. I want to live like Charlie Kate: with my boots on, good books and family close by, and the ability to ditch convention when called for…oh, and to live free from regret. So glad you and I met, Kaye Gibbons.