For my second book in the challenge, I selected The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton.
This book was published in 1962, concurrent with other simple stories of family and human nature, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Joy in the Morning. With all the craziness in today’s world, the idea of going back in time to a simpler era is appealing.
There are those who feel this book is an unsung hero. At just a few pages in, I can attest that it is a loving depiction of the “ordinariness” of living that many of us who grew up in a rural setting will recognize. Perhaps its quiet and unassuming impression was overshadowed by more intensity in its peers.
So far, The Moonflower Vine is a lovely, gentle read, reminding me of the magical days when one could spend an afternoon lying in the grass gazing up at a summer sky and then awakening to find several decades have passed. Life feels so much like that at my age now.
I chose this book for two reasons. One, I was looking for something that fit the challenge, and while Heather is a girl’s name in this book, it is also a plant so it fits. And two, it’s a debut novel from the creator of Mad Men. I had high hopes for it because of the latter.
To call Heather the Totality a novel is a stretch, in my opinion, it’s more of a novelette or a long short story. I was disappointed in it, perhaps more of a reflection on my expectations rather than the story itself. I was expecting some of the Mad Men wittiness and vibrant repartee. Instead, it was a reflection of two parents obsessed with their daughter and a dangerous stranger who becomes so as well.
There are probably some good discussion points for a book group, though, and perhaps his second outing will be a winner.