Is it fair to write a review of a book you couldn’t finish? Maybe not, but I will just go ahead anyway.
The book in question: Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White.
Now I have read a couple of Bailey White’s books that are memoir/essay collections and enjoyed them immensely. Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living is one of my all time favorite books. When I saw Quite a Year for Plums in the local library, I snatched it up right away. (The book came out in 1999, which tells you something about how I get around to reading things.)
I was excited to start reading it. I love White’s sense of humor, but I bogged down right away.
The book starts with a list of characters. Right away that is a bad sign. If there is a list to keep track of the characters I right away fear that I will have to keep referring back to it. And I did have to because they kind of blended together in their quirkiness. I guess I should have realized after several flips back that I was really not being drawn to these characters. Several of them struck me as quirky not so much in an amusing sort of way, more in a sad, serious mental illness way.
There were some amusing vignettes but on the whole the story seemed to really not be going anywhere in particular. Maybe that was supposed to be the point about rural life, but it did not make a compelling reading experience to my way of thinking.
So I never did find out about what made it such a good year for plums.
I used to feel duty bound to finish every single book I ever started. I’m at an age now where I feel the pressure of a lack of that kind of time.