So! Grown-up Oddly has a tortoise and lives in Oregon waiting for her runaway boyfriend to come back when she gets a call that her father is in a coma, which you sort of don’t care about yet because who are these people? But gird your emotional loins, because CARE YOU SHALL.
So she flies back home, leaving Winnifred the tortoise in the care of some pals and I have to get this out of the way: the tortoise has some chapters. Like, she narrates. And it is exactly as useless as you think it is, because the hell, tortoise? What matters your lettuce when there are flashbacks a-transpiring?
Because the rest of the book that is not the tortoise is flashbacks of Oddly Flowers being raised by her father and, later, also her Uncle Thoby, and there is something about the way these teeny family nuggets make everything full of whimsy and frolics while never letting you forget that it is so damned hard beneath the surface. They build an airplane in the basement and say ‘anon’ a lot and there is the occasional illustration.
This is one of those books that mock the DNFiles, because the ending totally makes it. I mean, if you give no damns halfway through you will probably give few damns at the wrap-up, but if you even care a smidgen, the final pages will make you feel. Not, like, TWIST! But like Thing Subconsciously Suspected Is Realized and Changes Everything. Sweet, silly book becomes a glass case of emotion.
Um…heads up: there are no quotation marks and not always question marks after questions. This is ordinarily a stylistic choice that would make me mocky and snide, so chalk it up to how delighted I was that I don’t even care and recommend this shit to you anyways.
Nine caterpillars, but mileage will definitely vary.