Mothers, Daughters and Green Books

I’ve just picked up Inchworm, the third of Ann Kelley’s books about Gussie, a twelve year old girl living just a few miles from me in St Ives. Gussie has a serious heart condition, and she and her mother have been waiting and hoping for a match so that she could have a transplant.

Her life is constricted, but Gussie’s doesn’t complain. She lives, and she finds so much to observe, to enjoy, to celebrate in the world around her. That includes books and I was thrilled to discover that, like me, she inherited that love from her mother. And that her mother’s taste has a lot in common with mine …

“Daddy doesn’t really have any proper novels here,
only scripts and movie biographies and books on how to make movies. He used to like murder mysteries but I can’t see any on his shelves. Mum and I have a more eclectic selection of reading material – paperback novels by women who published in the early twentieth century and who had been out of print. Writers like Kate O’Brien, Edith Wharton and Nina Bawden.”

It’s always lovely to discover a fictional Virago reader, and I do wish that I could invite both mother and daughter to the wonderful Virago Modern Classics Group on LibraryThing.

6 responses

    • They do indeed. It’s very strange to be reading about characters who live just a few miles away reading the same books as me, and rather nice.

  1. I think this book would make me really sad. A friend of my son had to have a heart transplant and when they found a new heart for her and transplanted it, it wouldn’t beat, so she passed away on the operating room table.

    • There is a sadness to this book, but there’s also a real appreciation of life that is so engaging. But I can understand that your friend’s experience would make this a difficult book for you.

      My uncle was more fortunate. His heart transplant undoubtedly extended his life for quite a few years. I still remember vividly my father having to drive cross-country overnight because a match had been found and a family member had to be available when the operation was carried out.

      The author’s son died a week after a heart transplant at the age of twenty-four and he could have no finer tribute than this.

    • You really must Staci. A good number are still in print and used copies of many that aren’t are not so difficult to track down. There are a good few collectors on your side of the Atlantic.

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