Elva:That's how the book begins, with Elva talking to her sleeping roommate, sixteen-year-old Courtney, the one pictured here on the book's cover. They are in the same room of a nursing home, along with May, who has dementia. I wish you could see the back cover, showing an elderly woman in the other bed, eyes closed (imagine this) as the two of them use a travel book and their imaginations to visit Italy. Eighty-eight-year-old Elva tells Courtney about her sister Rose:
[Languidly, to herself.]
"So all night long the storm roared on
The morning broke without a sun. . . ."
A bona-fide blizzard, in the first week of November. It's too early. Much too early. Even for North Dakota. [Louder.] Don't you agree?
[Pause. She sighs. Voice returns to original volume.]
"In tiny--" Tiny . . . First my eyes, now my memory.
In tiny something, something, something,
". . . all day the hoary meteor fell;
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own."
Dear girl, are you awake? It's nearly eleven.
[Long pause and sigh.]
Dear Rose. She was an ideal older sister. Life was quite inconceivable without her. Now that she's gone, I find the memories of her coming up unexpectedly, like daffodils you'd forgotten you'd planted. . . . A marvelous memory garden to stroll through.I loved Paul Fleischman's Whirligig (click to read my review), published the year before Mind's Eye, so when I saw this one somewhere, I put it on hold at my library. What a great little book this is! I enjoyed the trip to Italy with them -- and the men they imagined for themselves. As you can see from my quotes, the book is told entirely in dialogue, which worked beautifully, making the reader use her imagination, too. I rate this book 10 of 10, I couldn't put it down.
Do you remember the book I gave you yesterday? It was Rose who invented the sort of journey I'm proposing that you and I take.
Wednesday, went to bed on Thursday to read myself to sleep, finished the book in one straight-through reading, and am writing this review before midnight -- though I'll set it to post automatically just after midnight on Friday morning, so it can be an actual Book Beginnings on Friday. If you want to play along, this meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Click this link to read other book beginnings posted this week.