Matanni, my grandmother, said it began deep inside my mama's womb when she was pregnant with me. Mama ate those little green crab apples that grow beside the toolshed. She ate oodles of them, popped them into her mouth like rock candy, crunched, and swallowed one right after another until not one was left to ripen on the tree. "Green apples ain't no baby's nourishment," she said, "but in the beginning they was all your mama could hold down."Thirteen years ago, I bought this 308-page novel about a young girl growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. By the next day, I had finished reading it. Maybe it was my day off, but that's a lot of reading even for me. The book held my attention and I zipped through it, even while underlining and making notes in the margins. I came across the book while sorting boxes of books and papers in anticipation of moving to another state, and here's all this evidence that the book really grabbed me in 2001. Here are some teasers from what I underlined:
- "I was Icy Sparks, trapped in reality, a time which would last forever" (p. 87).
- "And so on and so on, my logic unfolded until my supply room was in perfect order, until it resembled the root cellar back home, where the canned red beets sat next to the strawberry jam and the green beans rested beside the collard greens, where every jar was color coordinated and the room was a palette of harmonious color. Stepping back and admiring my handiwork, I knew that I had hit upon the answer. I could organize my surroundings and also organize my mind" (p. 93).
- "Where I was born people know me, and their knowing makes me real" (p. 132).
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.