Paperback: Read between 19 March - 05 June 2016 (I know,.... But keep in mind - this was a book concerning a tortoise. I call it "empathetic reading")
Winnfred: "This is what I've been reduced to. A Bookmark. Shakespeare's bookmark. Oh perish the thought. Oh woe is me. Methinks I need a plan"
Should you be in the very, very fortunate position to be following this blog (amazement in the making here - watch this space) for the past two months - this is the book you should be thanking.
The idea of starting my own blog was simmering somewhere the back of my mind for a couple of months and it took Winnifred, the highly opinionated tortoise, to bring the idea to the boil. When I read the above quoted lines from Come, thou Tortoise, it was an enlightening moment. That is exactly what I have become! A bookmark. Really, think about it; I'm not working full-time anymore; I'm at home most of the day; I spend most of my waking hours reading; at least 15 000 of my daily quota of 20 000 words per day are on books and authors and bookish blogs. See???
"This is what I've been reduced to. A bookmark. Me thinks I need a plan"
What other choice did I have than to follow the wise-old tortoise's advice? I made a plan. And started my own blog. Maybe that is the main reason why it took me so long to finish this book. I didn't want to let go of Winnifred. I was hoping that she would be able to give me more advice on the important things in life. She did. And it was a bit more than just "Slow and steady wins the race".
Winnifred: I am ashamed of my blandness.
Butterfly: Me too.
Winnifred: I was astounded. What! But are you not aware of the art you carry on your back.
Butterfly: What art.
Winnifred: That was an enlightening moment. Because if the butterfly could carry such art on her back and not know it, what might a tortoise carry on her back. Apparently art enough to inspire Shakespeare.
This book is not actually about Winnifred, I kid you not. It is about a brilliant, hilarious girl and her bouquet (the family surname is 'Flowers') of weirdly functional family members and friends.
Book Blurb: When Audrey (a.k.a Oddly) Flowers learns that her father has been hit on the head by a Christmas tree and is in a coma, she knows what she must do: leave Winnifred her tortoise behind, fly home, make a moving speech at his bedside and wait for him to wake up. When Audrey disarms an Air Marshall on route to St Johns and the Wednesday Pond, we realize there is something a bid odd about her.
Things didn't work out quite the way she planned. Instead, Audrey finds herself embarking on an extraordinary journey: one full of puzzlement and pain - but one that could also light up her life (very similar to a Christmas tree). Come, thou tortoise unfolds in a world that is not quite our own; a place where you might just live forever if you can avoid the dangers, and where the truth can be hidden in the armrest of your airline seat.
I guess the 'odd' thing about Audrey is that she is classified as "IQ-impaired" or "IQ-challenged". Whatever the hell that might mean. I think she is simply marvelous, quite logical and creatively descriptive.
Marvelous Audrey: My IQ was a bit disappointing.
Inventor Judd: Mine too.
Marvelous Audrey: But you're a Christmas light inventor! Well, mine was more than a bit disappointing.
Inventor Judd: That's because they can't measure what you are.
Marvelous Audrey: Really. What am I.
Inventor Judd: I don't know. But I wish there were more of you out there.
Logical Audrey: You don't solve a mystery by adding information. You solve a mystery by subtracting what you think you already know. You just subtract your assumptions one by one until you are left with the truth. Then you ask again. Where are you. (Not even Sherlock Holmes was this logical)
Creatively descriptive Audrey: I remember very little of England, except that the house was a Clue board out in the country (the house felt like we might be murdered in it) and there were giant bees in the garden wearing sunglasses like a private security force. (You know exactly what that house looks like now. Admit it)
The basic plot of the story is rather dark and sad, but Jessica Grant knows how to handle this in prose that is full of puns and cleverness. Although it is not a laughable matter, it is hilarious. This is a book with a beating heart. As with a tortoise, you just have to wait for the irregular beats! It is my first encounter with Jessica Grant, but I am sure it won't be the last.
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads and highly recommends it to anyone who knows how to open a book and read.