I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.
“In the stirring tradition of The Secret Life of Bees and The Poisonwood Bible, Amaryllis in Blueberry explores the complexity of human relationships set against an unforgettable backdrop. Told through the haunting voices of Dick and Seena Slepy and their four daughters, Christina Meldrum’s soulful novelweaves together the past and the present of a family harmed–and healed–by buried secrets.
Meet the Slepys: Dick, the stern doctor, the naive husband, a man devoted to both facts and faith; Seena, the storyteller, the restless wife, a mother of four, a lover of myth. And their children, the Marys: Mary Grace, the devastating beauty; Mary Tessa, the insistent inquisitor; Mary Catherine, the saintly, lost soul; and finally, Amaryllis, Seena’s unspoken favorite, born with the mystifying ability to sense the future, touch the past and distinguish the truth tellers from the most convincing liar of all.
When Dick insists his family move from Michigan to the unfamiliar world of Africa for missionary work, he can’t possibly foresee how this new land and its people will entrance and change his daughters–and himself–forever.”
I’m still unsure about how I feel about this book several weeks after I finished it. I don’t know if it I was because I was distracted when I read it, picking it up and putting it down several times, or it was just the dysfunction of the family and characters. It’s told from multiple points of view from all the family members~ some of which I found selfish and irritating. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was my time of the month…
Nevertheless, I did find Yllis’s synesthesia fascinating, and of course, there were blueberries to enjoy :)
Amaryllis in Blueberry begins in Michigan:
“Mama said I was born in a blueberry field—that she was squatting, not to birth me, just to pick. Her hands were stained that purple-blue, and her lips were ringed black-blue, and a once-plump blueberry teetered on her tongue, staining her teeth gray as a November sky.”
“My hair has always had a touch of blue when struck by morning light, and my skin is nearly as dark as my sisters’ is light. And my eyes are that pale, just-ripe-blueberry blue. When I asked Papa as I grew why I look the way I do, all swarthy skinned and swarthy haired and icy eyed, so different from he and Mama and the Marys, he asked what did I expect given the way I came crashing into the world?”
“She was wont to remind Papa there is in fact a ‘Mary’ in the name. Mama insists she’d intended to call me Marylla for short, or maybe even just plain Mary, but these nicknames never stuck. I was Yllis from the start.”
“Long before I had any understanding of who I am-what I am- I could see Mama’s instincts were right: I was different, and not just on the surface.”
“I knew what people would say before they spoke. I knew whom people loved, whom they despised. I knew what gave others joy and fury and envy, even when they didn’t seem to know themselves.”
“ . . . I am an emotional synesthete.
For snyesthetes like me, the world is a layer cake of emotion, and we are the consumers. We don’t make the cake—stirring and whipping and baking are for those without a diagnosis. With so much to consume, how could one possible have the energy or an appetite for one’s creation?”
I made layered a cake of sorts, that I did not bake, in the form of a trifle.
I thought I’d make it more breakfast appropriate~ layering the muffins with Greek yogurt instead~ alternating lemon and blueberry flavors.
One large muffin and (2) 6 oz. cartons of yogurt will make two individual Blueberry Muffin Trifles. You could use any flavor muffin, yogurt and fruit.
“For eleven years I’d been a consumer, slogging down others’ pain, inhaling others’ rage, drinking their love, jittering with their joy. Yet I’d never considered who I was.”
“Until Africa, I’d believed love had one taste. The taste could be stronger or fainter, hotter or colder, but its essence remained the same. And while I knew hate and love sometimes mixed—that love could be peppered with hate yet still be love—I hadn’t realized hate is integral to love, that it’s within the reach of love’s expanse.”
“. . . Africa had something to tell me about myself—I was sure of this.”
“You forget there’s something more important than whether the blueberries are ripe, and if there’re not yet ripe—or they’re past ripe—then what in heaven’s name are you going to put in your pancakes?”
“Because truth is capricious. It may be hovering there all the while, but one moment you think you see it—it seems so clear, so well defined, as if you could catch it and hold it steady in your hand. But the next moment it’s gone, or at least so fast moving it’s a blur, at best. That’s the thing Africa taught me about truth. You know it’s truth because it’s busy. Any seeming truth that’s idle? Well, that’s just not truth.”
If you’re joining in the fun with Amaryllis and Blueberry for FFT, let me know by comment & I’ll add a link back to this post so everyone can enjoy a taste~