“We went from zero to sixty in no time. I was out of school and she was out of work. We had no place to be and not a thing to lose.”
And so begins this amazing book by Annie Weatherwax. Some of my previous reviews focused on the art of a story—Annie is the artist and shares this story as only an artist could. (Check out her video on YouTube, featuring her art carear and its translation into writing a book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNtSvHER1gM)
This book is wonderful, but don’t expect butterflies, kittens, and rainbows. Though at times, the language goes from “Life is [s-]” to the beautiful observations like “Life, it turned out, could open up and offer peace and space for friends.” And that’s what makes this book so precious: observations. Artists see the world in their own unique vision. They see deeper than color and size: artists see the world for what it is. Annie, as that artist, shares this vision. We are a part of the world. We’ve lived it, we relate, we feel.
“Snap, snap, snap” “clip, clip, clip” Weatherwax’s inclusion of sounds brings this world even more alive. “There were so many things to be sorry for. But this was how we lived—with pain and foul smells.” As a reader, you feel the pain of infliction but you also cherish the bond of mother and daughter. Whether they are taking sponge baths in gas-station sinks, or sh—ing in a field, or just singing a song in the car together: you are present.
So many good characters. The mother and daughter are part of a world of interesting and fascinating people. The old couple next door: “It looked easier for them to dance together than it was for either one to walk alone.” Peter Pam; the boyfriends; the co-workers. It all signals Weatherwax’s reality and touch.
In this book, Weatherwax, through her characters, states if only one book could be given to alien visitors, it would be TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Another bonus point for Weatherwax.
Thanks Scribner for sharing this wonderful book with me to review.
I leave with one final quote, taken about halfway through this touching adventure:
“Superheroes, I realized don’t fly or look like Jesus. They drive used Fords like my mother’s and they take their kids with them no matter where they go.”
You can find this book’s preview and other reviews (currently all 5-star) on Amazon: All We Had: A Novel
You can also find this book at independent Powell’s: