When Maylou’s mama suddenly dies in her Florida trailer park, Maylou sets out to bring her mama’s ashes and her father back home to Kansas. The unhappy pair are forced to bring along their neighbour’s daughter CeCe when she decides to flee her unfortunate marriage. On the trip they meet many colourful characters including Sherman the psychic, who falls in love with CeCe and tells her that her husband has been killed by a falling vending machine. At this point, Maylou’s father decides to remain with CeCe and Sherman and create a sacred grove of trees by carving sentences into them with a fork. Maylou returns alone to Kansas, and tries to accept the loss of her mother’s life while making a fresh start with her own.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This is a strange little book. Eliza Clark seems to have populated her first novel with every odd character and weird encounter she ever heard of. As a result, the events unfold like a road trip on acid, where neither the people, the situations or the dialogue ring true. Characters are introduced and then dismissed a few pages later, and while we want them to give Maylou some nugget of sound advice for coping with her mother’s death -they never do. Despite these failures, there is a sense of sweet sadness in this book that keeps you plugging away until the end in hope that Maylou will be OK.