Monday, September 07, 2020

110. The Spoon Stealer

The Spoon Stealer. Lesley Crewe. 2020. [September] 360 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: EMMELINE DARLING SUFFERED A TWINGE OF DISCOMFORT IN HER right hip as she reached over to pull the heavy floral draperies across the paned windows in her sitting room.

Premise/plot: Emmeline Darling, our heroine, is preparing to go to an event at a library when the novel opens. She's signed up for a four week class on memoir writing. In the class she'll meet a few kindred spirits and a few UN-kindred ones as well. Some people just can't be appeased or pleased. Some people seem persistent in being in perpetual conflict. As she reads her writing aloud to the class (of mainly senior citizens), friendships are formed and lives are changed.

As her memoir unfolds--within this framework of a library class in 1968--readers are drawn into her story and her life. It's been a hard, hard life. The fact that Emmeline remains Emmeline--half glass full Emmeline--is astounding. 

I'm tempted to leave it at that. To not reveal too much. But I hesitate to leave it at that as well. Is that enough of a hook to persuade you to add this one to your list?

If I were to do a book talk for The Spoon Stealer, I might just use this:
“You are a fraud, Miss Darling. There is something not quite right about you. I’m not sure what it is, but I know one thing. You will never have this spoon. It will never belong to you. You have no business even thinking you can possess it. And the fact that you want to crawl over here and take it from me speaks volumes, don’t you think?” 
The class couldn’t believe their ears. Joyce Pruitt had gone completely squirrely. Only Emmeline and Joyce knew it was the truth.
This one is a must--in my humble opinion--for those that enjoy stories with a strong emphasis on friendship, for those that love dogs, for those looking for a realistic exploration of the effects of mental illness on families, for those that love oh-so-human characters, for those that love a feel-good-resolution that is worked for. It's set in 1968/1969. Her memoirs reflect on her childhood (early 1900s), and the war years (both World War I and World War II).

My thoughts: I really loved this one. In terms of emotions--not plot, story, or characters--I'd compare it to Steel Magnolias. It was sad, uplifting, thoughtful, funny.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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