Thursday, November 17, 2011
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
"My dad did sometimes refer to us - the three of us - as the Bouquet. I think the Bouquet should hit the sack, he'd say. The bouquet is wilting. Or at least one Flower is. Speak for yourself, Wilter." Audrey may have a low IQ, but like her father and uncle, she is a master of words: "The Fairfont Hotel greets you with signage so cursive you curse your inability to read it." She meets the lawyer Toff, who is "wearing a purple scarf. Sorry, cravat. Some silk business tucked into his shirt. [..] My dad used to have an expression for a flamboyant dresser: Christmas on a stick. I'm sorry but a purple cravat is flamboyant."
At one point, Audrey cannot get into her house because the doorknob broke off. She goes to her neighbour for help, still holding the doorknob, and they call a locksmith. "On the table, the brass doorknob looks amazed to be reflecting the inside of someone's house. It lies on its side like it has fainted." (I was very sympathetic, since the doorknob to my front door broke off earlier this year. Unlike Audrey, I have another door that enabled access while I waited to repair the knob.)
Audrey grieves for her father, sorts through family secrets and frets about her tortoise in the most hilarious manner. Occasionally, the narrative switches to the voice of Winnifred the tortoise, who puts up with such indignities as being used as a bookmark while she waits for Audrey to return. Winnifred loves to sit on the dashboard when she travels in a car. (She is much smaller than Mrs. Cook, the tortoise in The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart.)
I would not say no to another book by Jessica Grant.