When I was reading this book, the following passage screamed out to me to be included in this column which features instructive or reflective posts On Reading every Sunday:
Lillian had been four years old when her father left them, and her mother, stunned, had slid into books like a seal into water. Lillian had watched her mother submerge and disappear sensing instinctively even at her young age the impersonal nature of a choice made simply for survival, and adapting to the niche she would now inhabit, as a watcher from the shore of her mother’s ocean.
In this new life, Lillian’s mother’s face became a series of book covers, held in place where eyes, nose, or mouth might normally appear. Lillian soon learned that the book covers could forecast moods much like facial expressions, for Lillian’s mother swam deeply into the books she read, until the personality of the protagonist surrounded her like a perfume applied by an indiscriminate hand. Lillian was never sure who would greet her at the breakfast table, no matter that the bathrobe, the hair, the feet were always the same. It was like having a magician for a mother, although Lillian always suspected that the magicians she saw at birthday parties went home and turned back into portly men with three children and grass that needed mowing. Lillian’s mother simply finished one book and turned to the next.
Excerpted with permission from the author from The School of Essential Ingredients (pages 7 – 8 ) by Erica Bauermeister, published by Putnam.
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