Friday, March 25, 2011

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons

Thank you Tara for the great recommendation! I liked this book and I think it's one I can univerally recommend.  It is a testament to women and reading.  The characters are great and the story is original.  It was a nice change of pace from other books I've read this year.

The story is told through Margaret's eyes as a teenager living in the South during World War II.  Her grandmother is known all around for being a midwife and healer.  Both Margaret and her mom Sophia go along with Charlie Kate on house calls and help take care of the sick.  I loved the relationship between these three smart, strong women.  They stick together, they watch out for each other, and they take care of everyone.  This book has some really sad moments, but overall you feel good reading it.

Here are some quotes (mostly wisdom from the grandmother) that I really liked.

“What is most fascinating with regard to her dentistry is that she would put women patients under, but work on the men as is.  She believed that although women, as a rule, could stand more pain and take more punishment than men, they should not have to and would not ever suffer under her care….The degree to which a woman looked tired in the face dictated the amount of chloroform she received, and sometimes when my grandmother recognized that a woman was too taxed by her life, she did her the favor of knocking her out to the point that she couldn’t neither lift her head nor say her name the rest of the day.  She said, 'Some of these women, if they didn’t have me work on their mouths, they’d never have gotten off their feet.'"
“She told me once, with great assurance, ‘I have read two books a week for thirty years. I am satisfied that I know everything.'”
“My grief had been plain and unpoetic, and the hole in my heart would’ve grown wide enough and deep enough to consume me had my mother and grandmother not kept me with them, and still.”

“In our house, the point of reading and learning was neither to impress outsiders nor to get a job or a husband, nothing like that. It had nothing to do with anybody but the three of us. When a good book was in the house, the place fairly vibrated. We trained ourselves to be exceptionally fast readers so a book could be traded around before the nagging and tugging became intolerable……We shared a curiosity about the world that couldn’t be satisfied in any other way.”

“My grandmother said, “When a marriage goes sour, two things start to happen. You can’t look at the other person chew and so you stare at your plate all through dinner, and you can’t sleep at night for harboring thoughts of how the one laying beside you spoiled something you wanted. Things go downhill fast when you can’t eat and sleep together, which are what married people are supposed to enjoy doing the most.”

Don't you love those?  I really loved these three women, and I think you'll like this book!


Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

so glad you liked it. It's one of my favorites and I picked it for book club next month, but there's always so much pressure making everyone read your book

Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

What I liked most about it, is it show the complicated relationship between Moms and daughters. Charlie Kate was a little rougher on her daughter then her grand-daughter. Sometimes I think being a Mom, we want whats best for our kids and so we just can't back off. Grandparents can step back and worry and criticize less and love and support more.

Betsy said...

I'm excited to give this book a go. Sounds like a good one.

But I really just wanted to say that I read "One Day" in one day. Thanks for the recommendation. I can't say I love, love, loved it, but it was a good read. . .obviously, because I couldn't put it down. I would love to sit and chat with you about it. So much on my brain. A movie version will be great. I think this guy is a great author -- I really feel like I "know" these people. But their lives make me sad, you know?

I am dying to hear what you think of "Cutting for Stone." That's another one I couldn't put down.

Kammy T said...

Betsy--I've been out of town and finished Cutting for Stone the night before I left, so I still haven't written up my review! I'm glad you liked One Day. I got a little nervous after recommending it because of the low morals protrayed so often...but I'd love to talk about it too!

Cherie said...

I liked this book. I thought it was pretty depressing in the beginning, but still liked the overall story enough to keep reading. I thought it ended well.