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The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
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Jul 07, 08

Read in June, 2008

I really love Annie Dillard. I cannot express how "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" shook my world, only to say that I refuse to let anyone borrow my worn paperback copy not because I'm worried about not getting it back, but because I am so mortified by some of the 18-year-old thoughts I scribbled in the margins the first time read it. That's how bad it is.

So, it's hard to express my level of disappointment with "The Maytrees." It's a book that is far to contemplative to be fiction, let alone a story about love. Furthermore, the characters are so far in their heads that it's difficult to imagine they are real. (I don't know about you, but good fiction means characters that I can believe in, no matter how fantastical they are.)I say leave the big thoughts for the creek, Annie.

The saving grace of this story, and the reason I give it three stars, is because there are beautiful moments that remind me of why I think Dillard is such a brilliant writer. For example, the main character Lou Maytree is one day thinking about her grown son, Petie. Dillard writes that if Lou could have it her way, she would collect all the Peties that ever existed, ages 0, 2 years, three days and five hours old, 22 years old, and so on and put them in a room together. I can imagine that for most parents, it is difficult to let go of all the incarnations of their children and this passage I found touching and well written.

In the meantime, I've decided to give Tinker another round...

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