Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet
ver the years, May Nilsson has had a life touched by many people. This book is the story of the seven loves of her life who changed her most deeply. She has defined her life by these people. From her eccentric mother to a lover to a lost son to a nursing home van driver, May looks back upon those whom she has loved in different ways and for different reasons.
alerie Trueblood begins with a love late in May's life. Through this beautiful co-worker Jackie, May introduces herself and unfolds her life. A former schoolteacher, May has come out of retirement to work in an office. Widowed, with two grown children, May finds love in many different aspects of her life. Throughout the book, she recalls the variety and the intensity of her feelings as well - whether they were intransitive, possessive, happy, or troublesome.
rueblood is gifted with a beautifully descriptive voice. Her use of language has the ability to enthrall and evoke both joy and sorrow. But Trueblood's plunge into May Nilsson's memory at times left me a bit confused and disjointed. A lack of chronology and the feeling of shifting perspectives kept May at arm's length. She was a character with whom I had difficultly connecting.
ut then again, examining one's own memory is a hazy thing, let alone someone else's. While faces from ten years ago might be crystal clear, events of ten days ago may not. And maybe examining exactly that point was part of Trueblood's intent.
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