You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a short memoir by Elisabeth Tova Bailey of her long convalescence and her constant companion--the snail that a friend brings by in a flower pot. The book is actually part memoir and part science paper; in fact I am reminded of Moby Dick on a small scale.

While Bailey is confined to her bed, she begins to take a keen interest in the snail at her bedside, learning of its habits. She learns about its teeth (thousands), its slime (multi-functional and practical), and its social life (none). She begins to identify with is solitary life, since she is shut up and has little interaction with her friends or the outside world. She also finds in the snail a sense of hope. She is surprised when it lays and hatches dozens of eggs.

This is a short but touching memoir of a slow recuperation and the attachment one feels with the smallest of companions. Bailey does plenty of research about the history and study of gastropods (meaning "stomach foot") which she adds and relates to her snail's life. The reader feels for her and her slimy pets, up to the end when she is able to walk outside on her own and leave the last offspring of her original snail in the woods. B+

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