Julia's Reviews > The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in August, 2011

I'm just enthralled, and suggest everyone go to www.elisabethtovabailey.net to learn more about the author and this slim volume of pure inspiration. Thanks to Heather Sturm for bringing this to the attention of our book club--I plan to buy my own copy very soon.

This observation states my views most clearly:

"Like Seabiscuit's Laura Hillenbrand, this author is at the house-bound, often bed-bound extreme of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (brain stem inflammation), a condition similar to Lyme mockingly labeled "Chronic Fatigue Syndome" which U.S. Health Officials likewise continue to stall progress in. While her living restrictions set the stage for what transpires, 95% of this book isn't about illness, but an easily read, witty account of all-things snail. Starting from the almost-silent but neighborly presence of one, it gently focuses in on how snails eat, move, defend themselves, and mate. It draws on the expertise of current biologists, and on the prose of authors past, likewise fascinated by these presumptively simple creatures. The artful weaving between her growing personal interaction and amazement with a mysterious pet and the light science is so well done that one feels like a gastropod expert without having read a textbook, as well as entertained and indeed privileged to see a world invisibly slow to most of us."

The debilitating illness that is the underpinning of the book is never made into a maudlin, self-pitying background. Rather, I was mesmerized by the quotations Bailey chose to start each chapter--simply brilliant.

Much like THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, this slim volume is a tribute to the power of an individual who can overcome unbelivable adversity. And the information on snails is absolutely fascinating--another example of the miracles around us if we just take time to slow down and pay attention.
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