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Rules for Visiting

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A beautifully observed and deeply funny novel of May Attaway, a university gardener who sets out on an odyssey to reconnect with four old friends over the course of a year.

At forty, May Attaway is more at home with plants than people. Over the years, she's turned inward, finding pleasure in language, her work as a gardener, and keeping her neighbors at arm's length while
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Penguin Press
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  89 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Tyler Goodson
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Isn't every reading experience a visit to a character and the world they live in? I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with May Attaway as she visits four of her friends. Part of her journey is a scholarly and earnest pursuit to discover what it means to have and be a friend. As May finds her answers, we are treated to a character and a story that are beautiful and quietly profound. Consider this my thank-you note.
Jessica Kane
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
What are the Rules for rating your own book???
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been thinking a lot about the role of friendship in my life lately in large part thanks to this book. Jessica Francis Kane has crafted a beautifully subtle and surprisingly funny exploration of how we cope with grief over the long haul. Friendship, it turns out, is the key, but so too is a powerful connection to the natural world.

The premise here is pretty clever. May Attaway is a gardener at a local university. A yew tree she planted years back has inspired an award-winning poem by one of
chels marieantoinette
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Part one of this book was hard for me. It felt jumpy, yet slow and discombobulated. But the honor of reading an advance copy forced me onward - I wanted to give this book my undivided attention and a thorough review. Boy am I glad that I did!
I truly love May Attaway. At first I equated her to “the next Eleanor Oliphant,” but she is so much more.
No, I am not obsessed with plants. Nor am I a 40-year-old, single woman living with my father and my cat... I am a 30-year-old engaged woman living with
Cindy Bellomy
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyed this gem. I was a bit concerned at the beginning, but soon got caught up in May's quest to be different than her mother, to be a friend & to have friends, to connect with others, & to understand why that is important.
Wonderful character & fine example of character growth.
Kathleen Gray
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suspect I won't be the only one who will recognize herself in May, a 40 year old who finds herself in need of restoring friendships. She's an interesting woman- a landscape architect who works as a gardener and lives in her childhood home with her widowed father. When rewarded with a month of annual leave, she opts to visit four friends from her youth- Lindy, Vanessa, Neera and Rose. And if you didn't recognize a piece of yourself in May, you might in one of them. There is wonderful informatio ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May Attaway is a bit of an oddity. A middle-aged landscape gardener living with her elderly father, she finds the preoccupations of other people difficult to relate to. Almost intentionally, she seems to have boxed herself in and it's not at all clear how she's going to change.

But she's conscious of the way that other people celebrate friendship and aware that it's a huge part of modern life from which she's excluded. So when her employer gives her a month's paid holiday she decides to use the t
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2019
I felt very unsympathetic toward May, the main character of Rules for Visiting, until about 80% of the way through the book, and then I understood her and I loved it from there on out. I think this one will stick with me for a long time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for the advance copy!
Marcy Dermansky
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book. I did not know how Jessica Francis Kane could write a whole novel about visiting friends and trees but she did and I loved it. I felt understood.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, faves
Book about a woman embarking upon an adventure in the name of friendship? Hell yes.

May Attaway is hard to get to know; she loves plants, her car, and eating at her local taqueria, but we gotta go with her and listen close to peel away her layers. And damn if that isn't so relateable. I love that she's 40 and she's thinking so much about the people around her and how to connect and tying her surroundings to literature and plants. I honestly wish she could be my friend IRL (and my use of 'IRL' wo
Ilyssa Wesche
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not since Dietland have I read a book that felt more like a personal manifesto to me. I could not wait to finish this book so I could immediately tell everyone I know that they must read this. I'm going to visit a friend of mine tomorrow - we've been friends for 35 years - and this book only amped up my anticipation of the visit, and vice-versa.

May is an almost-middle-aged woman who lives with her father in the house she grew up in. She's a landscape artist at the local university, and she love
Jillian Doherty
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly narrative, that could be a modern how-to for feeling human, and reconnecting again.

Offering fascinating factoids from Emily Post, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Newton, and Aristotle - at its heart feels like Plato‘s lessons on platonic love.

The narrative is directed by a reluctant heroin; erudite is the best way I can think to describe May Attaway. She’s a quietly cerebral, gardener ~ the kind of person who is not quite introverted, but more so a person who just hasn’t been asked
James Beggarly
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A university gardener gets a month of paid leave from her job and decides to visit four old friends, three in the US and one in England, to try set a spark to make these relationships matter again, but to also bring a spark to help her change the person she is now. It’s a lovely book about visiting friends and the history of visiting and friendships from writers through the ages.
Jodi Paloni
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rules for Visiting promised readers a road trip and delivered, steadily, quietly, which I loved because of the subtly I could chew on, how I felt invited to engage, to make meaning about the nature of human connection, of loneliness and friendship, of a woman making an effort to pull herself out of a dark place. She has the agency, but she takes her time, so in this regard the novel reads very much like real life. The characters have stayed with me, as if I had gone along for the ride and observ ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounding up because I am a garden gal! I listened to this while working in the garden, this book is made for those much younger than me, but I found it entertaining with plenty of thought provoking ideas. I will say she is a garden snob, too much attitude against color, i.e. Petunias and mums! Lots of social commentary tossed in her garden of friends, for chick lit I actually made it to the end, it was the garden chatter that kept me close to the dirt...
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a bookseller and received an advanced review copy of RULES FOR VISITING.
I loved this book. I am a big fan of Jessica Francis Kane's earlier novel, The Report, and was very excited when I received this. The focus of the book is on friendship, but I was also moved by May's thoughts and experiences with trees and other plants. With it's emphasis on face-to-face rather than virtual connection, and the value of the non-human world, it's a perfect read for our time. Excited to start hand-selling
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fortnight Friends! I’m going to start using that hashtag after reading this! Since I won this book on Goodreads I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up really enjoying it. Very funny! And touching... And as a bonus I learned about trees. I love the sketches between each section too. Great little read about friendships. ❤ ...more
Diane Payne
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous novel! The author has a great sense of humor, knows how to share just enough facts about trees and flowers to make the reader curious but not bogged down, and motivate us to consider looking up old friends.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rules for Visiting is a novel about friendship, a meditative novel and focused on travel and home. May's life is a series of routines: she lives with her elderly father, doesn't see her brother, and doesn't really talk to her neighbours. Though she enjoys her gardening career at the local university, she feels she needs something more, and some paid leave sparks off a chance to revisit some old friendships. As May visits her friends one by one, she reflects on their lives and her own, comparing ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, engaging and full of food for thought.
A book I will remember for a long time as I think May is a very well written and unforgettable characters.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine
More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile & Andrea RBK

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane was one of those books that just kept me thinking - in a good way. This is a fiction read (although it reads like a nonfiction memoir) where the main character decides to re-invest in her friends. She realizes that so much of friendship has become via social media, and she wants to change that. She yearns for the way she used to be connected to her friends, and so she decides she's goi
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May Attaway is a forty-year-old woman with a job as a landscape gardener on a university campus. She lives at home where she looks after her aging father. When the university acknowledges her work over the years by giving her a mini-sabbatical she decides to visit several of her friends. Friends she hasn't seen in a while. And while she attempts to navigate the modern world as a guest in other people's homes May is also trying to find meaning in her own life as well as identify who she is and ho ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot say, on reflection what it was about this book that made me request the book but I am so glad I read it. Do you know that feeling when you pick up a book blindly and start reading it and a couple of chapters in something goes 'ping' and the whole thing resonates? I do not just mean just the storyline itself, I mean the tone of the narration and the lead character as well.

I have to admit that this book may not be for everyone, the level of detachment that May 'seems' to feel when narrati
May Attaway works as a landscape gardener at the local university. She is granted a month leave from her job and she decides to use the time to visit and reconnect with her long-lost friends.

I had quite a hard getting into the story at first but once I did, I couldn't stop reading. May is an intelligent and a very interesting woman. I loved her passion about trees/plants and classic literature. She reminded me a little of Eleanor because they're both eccentric but also unique in their own ways.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2019
If you are a reserved person with few friends and a love for trees and gardening you will love this book whose main character, May Attaway is all these things. Reaching her forties, single, living in the house she grew up in with her widowed father, she works as a botanist/landscaper at the local university. Given a full month vacation she uses it to visit and reconnect with four friends from her
childhood and college years. All goes well and there's a happy ending. Well written and the author's
Jackie Wolfred
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Rules for Visiting", by Jessica Francis Kane.
This novel is about a 40 year old woman who goes on a search of true friendship, in visiting four friends from college days. May Attaway has lived in her childhood home her whole life, while most of her close friends moved away and on with their lives.
This is a charming tale of her visits woven around her exploration of who she is and where she belongs.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-in-giveaways
I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Although I really liked the main character, I struggled to figure out what the point was. I'm not sure I ever did. To me, it just felt like a string of one event leading to another without any real purpose or meaning. By about halfway through, I was struggling to continue. I forced myself to finish, but I don't see myself ever being in a rush to pick it up again.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Elinor Oliphant
I really enjoyed this book, despite a slow start. Had a hard time getting my rhythm with May but once I did, things picked up. It's a wonderful exploration of friendship and how we navigate friendships in the 21st century.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another unexpected two stars from me for RULES FOR VISITING (May 14, 2019). I really thought I’d like it, and I did enjoy the somewhat touching ruminations on friendship and keeping in touch with people as you grow older. But I found the writing a bit dull, and the story not very exciting.
Muhemed Masika
Visit quietly
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JESSICA FRANCIS KANE is the author of The Report (Graywolf, 2010), a finalist for the 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and a Barnes & Noble "Discover" pick. She is also the author of the story collections Bending Heaven (Counterpoint, 2002) and This Close (Graywolf, 2013), which was an NPR best book of the year and a finalist for The Story Prize. Her stories h ...more

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