Total Pageviews

Sunday, October 28, 2012

small damages, written by beth kephart. Philomel, Penguin. 2012. $19.00 ages 14 and up

"God's finest color," she says. Not an opinion, but a fact...Saffron is red and gold. It is the cure, Estela says, for cancer, pox, itchiness, melancholy. A pinch of the spice in warm white wine will change your life, she explains. It will give you courage. "Paella isn't paella without saffron. Life isn't life."

When Kenzie discovers that she is going to have a baby she will not consider ending the pregnancy. She will have the baby and allow adoption. Her mother does not want anyone to know about it, so she ships her daughter off to Spain to stay with a friend. Once there, she comes under the tutelage of Estela, a crusty old cook who works on the ranch where they raise bulls for the ring. Estela worms her way into Kenzie's heart with her concern for both young woman and her baby, and with her own story of sadness.

Kenzie meets the couple who are to adopt her baby, the gypsies who stop at the ranch and the young, quiet man who also works there. With their comfort and support, Kenzie is able to let her guard down and begin to know herself, her feelings and her own dreams. 

Beth Kephart has an astonishing way with the poetry in words. She creates for us the world of Spain, making her love for its colors, smells, and wondrous beauty an integral part of this story of loss, love and growth:

   "Down the road and past the arch, the olive trees are casting webs of purple shadows. Across the way, between the sunflowers, the clover is green and the cacti bloom. Out on the horizon, there's the leaking of silver, blue, and green, like the sea. I sit up front, with Miguel and Luis. The Gypsies sit in the back,in the bed of the truck, while the wind blows a song through Arcadio's strings.
    Miguel drives in silence. Spain rushes by. The fields and the bulls and the storks and the earth that breaks free from itself and rises..."

I love the setting, the Spanish history, the characters, the first person voice, the support they find in each other and the love that is on every page. I think that you will, too.       

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful, and I thank you: