The quiet horrors of ordinary life…in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, until death do we part…yet life goes on in spite of things, like it or not, we adjust, we manage, we make do—along with joy there is sadness, one can only hope for moderation, but sometimes for some people, shit happens in clumps—“Things happen in threes” we often declare during tough times—with a slim hope that it would soon be over. As complex as life can be, much of what we do while living is simple—after awhile we’re on autopilot as our routines become ingrained and any deviation from those routines send us into a tizzy of upset that can be akin to the end of the world.
The book is bittersweet—it is much like the vine itself, each story twining around the next, sprouting delicate fruit with seeds. Olive is honestly direct, and for some folks, especially children at the school where she taught, she’s intimidating, scary, or mean. I knew teachers like her—some were tried and true old battle-axes that instilled dread and fear by the mere mention of their name and you hoped that you didn’t have them for homeroom. Then there were the tough ones that shared their wisdom freely, did not suffer fools, and ruled the classroom with an iron will that kept the wiggliest of children pasted to their seats listening because if you didn’t you were going to catch it for sure—but if we were lucky, what we needed to know was provided to us in an engaging and entertaining manner that made it memorable—and we were successful because of that (back when teaching had little to do with standardized tests.) We remember these teachers with a bittersweet fondness because they made the effort to teach us something. Sometimes they had to say the things to us we didn’t want to hear—thank goodness later, they gave a shit enough to say so.
Again, I’ve latched onto a book at the right time in my life—my current thoughts about life and death, being a wife and mother—or just being a woman—have been echoed back to me and further enlightened. As sad as it could be—there is comfort there—and I often laughed out loud. It’s a bittersweet book.
“Don't be scared of your hunger. If you're scared of your hunger, you'll just be one more ninny like everyone else.” P. 195