If you saw one of your friends reading a book about a wild snail, it might cause you to do a double take. Is that for real? What on earth could you possibly find interesting about a sluggy creature that leaves slime in its wake? I asked myself this question when it was first mentioned as a potential read for our book club. But then I started hearing about it more and more, and I was able to get my hands on it at SIBA last year. It is a cute little thing...it could fit right in your jacket pocket, with deckle edged paper And although I still didn't get it exactly, but at just over 200 pages, what did I have to lose?
Synopsis: At the prime of her life, at the age of 34, Elisabeth Tova Bailey was sricken down by a mysterious virus picked up in Europe. Bailey was completely incapacitated, where even rolling over from her right side to her left side took all of her strength. She was forced to move from her home to a rehabiliation facility, her friends went on with their lives, and Bailey began to wonder if she would ever have a normal life again.
Then one day, a friend brought by a potted plant to cheer her up. In the deathly silence of her room, Bailey heard munching noises and noticed that small holes had been eaten in her stationery at her bedside. Lo and behold, she noticed a snail was living in her plant. She began to study her new pet, and was fascinated with its daily activities, eating behavior, and adaptations to its environment. Bailey began to worry about the welfare of the snail, and had it transferred to a terrarium, and began to draw strength and inspiration from its tiny little soul.
My thoughts: If my heart ever needed healing, I believe this gentle memoir would be just the thing to do it. While Bailey is as debilitated as a human can be, the tone never seems whiny, just very sad for what she has lost and matter of fact. The idea that a tiny creature, with its little eccentricities and determined personality, despite its size, can give a sick woman a reason to live? The words just reach down into your heart and gives it a loving caress.
And here was a shocker...snails are actually pretty cool. Bailey does quite a bit of research on them in order to keep her little guy happy, and shares with us all kinds of bits of trivia. Like if their shell gets cracked, they have a super glue-type fluid that patches things up. Like their slime is a defense mechanism against their enemies. How they lay eggs and tend them. What they eat, that they are nocturnal. Like which of their feelers does what. It made me want one of my own.
And as you travel on this journey with the author, the snail not only lifts her up spiritually, so that she can have the desire and drive to heal, but it lifts you up as well.
4.5 out of 5 stars