Read, However: The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

I can’t say this one was “better read than never”, which faithful readers of this site expect my book reviews to be (sub)titled. I don’t really know why I read it, although I did like the cover photo of a summery small girl leaping into a river, even more than I disliked the magenta cast of the author’s name – REBECCA WELLS – on the front and the full-back-jacket glossy of the writer. The dust jacket of the book fairly screamed Back away now, Howdy, this ain’t meant for the likes o’ you, but it was in my bedroom (ah, the price of marriage is a sometime surprise!) and I was tired and I never meant to actually finish it and besides I’d heard of Ms. Wells’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and thought I’d do a little slumming in the bestseller swamp. Arrogance is bliss, too.

By the way, the book is called The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, 

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Better Read Than Never: THE HELP

Amid the pampered comings and leavings in the lobby of a Chiang Mai hotel, and here on a sunny balcony overlooking the baking tourists by the pool in Krabi, I try to pretend I am not one of them. When I can’t simply enjoy warmth and leisure and good food, I am guiltily soured by this tourist business, and am too (self) conscious of the real “tourist trap”: the detachment from the serving class, the presumption that the too-visible disparity between their fortune and mine is at it should be. At its worst, it becomes a bland but bitter-edged condescension at the quaintness/ignorance/pathos/inconvenience of “these people”. These people. What a simple and toxic phrase – surely better than “these brutes”, “these savages”, but not so much different. These thoughts gain traction in a slippery tourist mind that is still digesting a jet-set reading of The Help.

Now, gentlemen! Don’t turn away, I’m talking to you,

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