July, 2016: What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

(Book #75) Marcia hosted this meeting in her garden and served a lovely fruit salad, a caprese salad, and grilled chicken. For dessert there was a beautiful Sacher torte and macarons that Rosalie brought us from Paris.

Discussion of the book included very little praise. Marcia hadn’t chosen a book and I gave her some choices which included this book. It shouldn’t have been on the list. Though the premise, things left behind by patients of a mental facility, is an interesting one, we had the following problems with this book:
*The juxtaposition of Clara and Izzy’s stories was troublesome. Izzy’s story is very much a YA novel on its own and her problems with classmates seemed wildly exaggerated and the stuff of a different kind of story than Clara’s. Clara had every issue one could have in the asylum — one of my favorite Tom Stoppard lines: It strained credulity.
*I read Wiseman’s book, The Plum Tree and I don’t remember being so bothered by some of the writing issues. The descriptions are long and repetitive while failing to illuminate and I know this is horrible of me, but I wish authors would stop telling me what things smell like unless it’s something truly unusual. What nursing home doesn’t smell, if only vaguely, of urine? 
* There are  three times when a character had to swallow a lump in her throat; the third time it was a burning lump.
* Why wasn’t Susan wearing yellow when she visited the nursing home?

Here is Marcia’s thank-you email:                                                                          July 27, 2016 :  I just spent the morning chained to a bed in a freezing cold tub of water, having electro-shock therapy because I didn’t fulfill my social obligations as a woman in society who should know better than to wait until the next day to send an email of thanks for a lovely evening. But it’s over now and I feel completely fine. Marcia, thank you so much for a lovely evening, lovely setting, great wine, delicious food — the fruit salad was beautiful, the caprese made my heart sing, the chicken was yummy, and the Sacher torte was incredible with or without ice cream.  Rosalie, thank you for serving as Marcia’s sous-chef and for bringing the macarons de Paris. It was such a lovely night, I must now close and swallow the burning lump in my throat,

Teresa                                                                                                                               P.S. I will be undergoing more ‘therapy’ for having included this book on the list of books from which Marcia could choose. If all goes well, I will see you in August for a discussion of The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.