A Howl for Mayflower
Paperback: 220 pages Publisher: Imago Press (November 1, 2006) Language: English ISBN-10: 097253038X ISBN-13: 978-0972530385 Buy Now
A HOWL FOR MAYFLOWER will leave you howling, "No...but...yes." As I turned the final page, I mourned having to say goodbye to these ordinary people full of heart and soul, passion and intelligence, folks who eke out a life in a broken-down apartment building in downtown Tucson,Arizona. Tobias, forever trying to be rational and controlled in his world of books, aspires to the life of the contemplative scholar far away from the average and ordinary. But in his lonelier moments, he reads a "how to win friends and influence people" book and practices a strong handshake with a round of gouda cheese. In his bathroom mirror, he works on his smile, "the smile of a person who had eaten bad fish." Tobias's attempt to escape the mundane life is suddenly interrupted by the lovely, warm and aging Mayflower. She grabs your heart in the first dance and won't let go. Her waist-length braid, red dress and joie de vivre are irresistable. Young Naomi, on her way to Alaska to find an old boyfriend, provokes both empathy and impatience as she struggles to come to terms with her difficult life, past and present.
Dan Gilmore creates a cast of characters who weave themselves deep into your psyche. They turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, the extraordinary into simple beauty. He writes with a big mind and a big soul, always with humor and passion, exploring love in its many forms. His strong staccato dialogue propels the story to a climax the reader will never forget. He ponders the muddy areas of life that elude easy answers and explores human attempts to find meaning in an often absurd world. He looks unflinchingly at religious and political ideas no conservative could endure. Historically interesting but little known facts dot the pages. Did you know Pythagorus had an irrational fear of beans? Gilmore's writing literally sings on the pages with music, art and poetry -- you'll find yourself humming along. His words paint vivid images of ordinary people struggling to fully live their lives in the precious moments of their present. In the end we know life is never black and white. We all live complex lives, and along with the poet Rilke, we say, "I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm or a great song." But as Rumi wisely told us centuries earlier, "There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
"A Howl for Mayflower" is a humorous, yet somewhat melancholy, story that will appeal to all adults. In this book author Dan Gilmore effectively demonstrates how one person can influence the lives of others and how that person's life becomes enriched in the process.
Who could have known that three people who seem so different from each other - Tobias, Mayflower, and Naomi - could form so tight a bond? Tobias essentially has to take on the role of friend and father figure to an aging woman with Alzheimer's and a pregnant teenager while having to deal with his own problems. Seeing the transformation of Tobias Seltzer from a grouchy widower into a man filled with loyalty, commitment and selflessness towards others was extremely heartwarming to me. After he finally was able to put his wife's death behind him by scattering her ashes throughout the city and cleaning out her closet, he was able to freely experience many different forms of love that he never imagined possible. He also finds himself getting caught up in other people's personal business, putting him in the unenviable position of deciding how to best divulge the information he has obtained.
Throughout this long and often tumultuous journey, Tobias realizes the importance of living life to its fullest because there is no way of knowing what the future holds. Ultimately he learns that only being interested in his own life is much simpler, but a lot less rewarding, than sharing it with those around him.
This book focuses on how one human being can transform the lives of others if he or she is willing to put in the effort. It also centers on the theme of letting go of the past, because often the past, as we remember it, is not entirely accurate.
If I could do half stars this would be four and a half!
I have to start by saying this is not a sappy, soppy love story. It is about love and life though. What a fabulous book about life, how people who are the least likely make their own little families and care for one another. This really shows how people can change, realise their dreams, and love one another within a short space of time.
I loved how Tobias took on the burden of everyone's secrets, trying to convince himself that he only wanted to go back to his solitary life, having been married and widowed, but never feeling he lived, truly lived. He is such an identifiable character, as so many people wander through life waiting for things to happen and it was so darkly funny, that at times I was chuckling guiltily to myself. I love the opening scene, as I could vividly picture Tobias watching Mayflower.
If you need a book to teach you life is to be lived and not get to the end of untasted, unsavoured , and to enjoy every second of your life you can, read this NOW!! You don't ? Grand, read it anyway, you can't fail to laugh, cry and learn something about people, maybe even yourself. I cannot say how much I enjoyed this book. Excellent.
REVIEW BY ANGI - A Howl for Mayflower by Dan Gilmore