Steven'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
Jan 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: natural-history, essays

Her life slowed to a crawl by a debilitating illness, Bailey finds parallels with and solace in the activities of a common snail by her bedside. Each chapter starts with quotes from poems and naturalists' notes about snails, delves into her own personal observations of "her" snail, and ends with insight into what a person might learn from snail behavior.

There's as much here for the naturalist as there is for those who appreciate good essay writing; I learned more about snail feeding, locomotion, and biology than I ever thought I would.

Intensely absorbed by the snail and its activities at first, the focus of the book changes subtly as Bailey no longer relies on the snail to make sense of her situation. I truly enjoyed this book, and will take the advice the author gives to herself:

Always remember the snail.
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