Amaryllis in Blueberry

Amaryllis in Blueberry ***

by Christina Meldrum

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 novel weaves 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 saw this recipe for Blueberry Trifle, layering blueberry muffins, lemon curd and whipped cream.

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~

Yvette’s Petite Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt~

Sarah’s Amaryllis & Review~

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Food for Thought~

Foodie Friday~

On The Menu Monday~

  14 comments for “Amaryllis in Blueberry

  1. April 20, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I read this book several months ago. I have mixed emotions about it, too. I thought it was very well-written, but it did not make my best books list.

    Pretty post!


  2. April 20, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Mary, seems we were creating along the same lines, while reading Amaryllis in Blueberry…isn’t it wonderful how we can all connect and relate to such foods in the same way. Our taste buds were tingling amongst blueberry yoghurt and custard. A wonderful review and know I would enjoy the combinations of blueberry muffins, lemon curd and whipped cream. What decadence! x

  3. April 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I have not read the book, Mary. I appreciate your wonderful review and the visual illustrations, gorgeous as always.

  4. April 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I have very mixed feelings about this book. I keep putting it down because it frustrates and exhausts me. I last put it down about three days ago and have not been able to pick it up again…I’ve moved on to another book and I’m not sure I’ll be back to finish Amaryllis in Blueberry. I can’t pinpoint why I keep putting it down. It’s well written but frustrating and maybe a little too dysfunctional for me.
    On the other hand, your wonderful photos have inspired me to go to the kitchen and make blueberry muffins, yogurt and whipped cream!

  5. April 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Mary, I too, had mixed feelings about this book. It was a difficult one for me to review, so in the end I kept things simple. I couldn’t connect with food with this one, the images created in my mind were not always pleasant. Your post is gorgeous as always. Love the idea of blueberries and lemon curd.

  6. April 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I was not familiar with the book and by your comments and those above…not sure if I will read it…but I must say, you did stir an interest. Your posts are always charming and never disappoint…

  7. April 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    so many beautiful images! i love how your blueberries travel across the map, very clever :)

    you are so cute with your food in a glass presentations… i could become even huger if i took your advice, when i see pretty i just gotta eat it!

    and those pancakes… i did want to make those, but i read violets and this back to back, i had made the starfish pancakes and thought it would be cheating to just make some blueberries too, but when i look at yours my mouth waters… so cute, so sinful, so willing… so is someone drizzling for you or do you master both at the same time and click!

    gorgeous post as always, thank you so much for embracing food for thought with me, its nice to have a true kindred spirit in this pursuit… even if i am forever mum…

  8. Pat
    April 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    It sounds like this book would also frustrate me, Mary…. I give a book a hundred pages–if it doesn’t capture my interest I won’t invest any more time after that.

    I do love bluberries and your delicious creations, however! Thye look scumptious!

  9. April 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t know about the book, if it is not uplifting, no thanks!
    On the other hand your creations look wonderful! You are amazing!

  10. shirley@housepitalitydesigns
    April 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I love it when you review books…I take notes on your reviews for upcoming nominations for my Book Club’s next year’s reading…reading Emily Post now…

    Your pictures are phenomenal as always…I love, love, blueberries..actually made a blueberry parfait for breakfast this morning (have guests)…Now I will try the muffin parfait…looks wonderful…and Chobani?? I cannot get enough of it…

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. April 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Your review has me intrigued: I want to read this now but it will get put WAY on the back burner. I am up to my armpits with this move. I am packing everyday and we are getting a POD to put what is packed, in. I love to read so will get this onto my Kindle for when I can sit and READ!!!!!! Your pictures are, once more, beautiful. YOur imagination is stunning to me. I LOVE that you are at the lake permanently. I am jealous:):):) Would LOVE to have a place on a lake….or ANY body of water, but pontoon boats are my love. XO, Pinky

  12. April 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    This book sound very though provoking!
    How beautifully you have portrayed this book with your photography.
    And you parfait is one I will certainly try! What a great combo!
    Thanks for bringing your truckloads of beauty and talent and grace to ON THE MENU MONDAY!

  13. April 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I want to join your Food for Thought but I just couldn’t get into this book. Now, seeing your wonderful interpretation with the food, I will try harder with the next book! Linda

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