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This was not the story I expected it to be, but so much more. I was not so much surprised at the setting- a nursing/retirement home- as I was with the fantastic character of Alice Scully. Her attitude was on point. I was taken aback at the point in which Martha Louise dictated that the literary meeting be called “Happy Memories Club” thus calling out Alice for her un-flowery writing topics and in a sense, trying to shut her out of the group. Alice, while she keeps hidden from us what she suffers from, has more of her marbles than any other character. Everyone else in the home seems completely jaded from living life, and yet Alice (despite being in and out of the health center of death) is so completely full of life. I found it exceptionally fantastic that Alice had her guns and ammo ready for Martha Louise and the rest of them to hear, and so fitting that her story of love again shocked them.

Alice’s story is about love and life and their intertwining. It’s about how things change and people change, and life doesn’t all have to be sad and long lost, but rather forever alive and brilliant through memories of love and life. If ever there was an old woman who had a kick left in her, it’s this old lady. Some people do not want to live long lives, for fear of the pain and lonliness that comes with losing everyone around them. Alice Scully, however, makes me want to live a long, long life.

While Lee Smith jumps from what is happening in the present, to inside Alice’s head, to Alice’s story as she continues to read, it never became difficult to follow. The entire piece, in that way, is just a constant stream of consciousness, inside and out as what she hears, reads, thinks, and sees are all combined in the orderly way that it does naturally for anybody. In all, this story seems very natural, very believable and true. We care about this old woman because we care about the connections she has made with others, and she cares too, because I believe its those connections that have kept her going. Throughout the story she distances herself from the nurses and the health center- the things that would keep her stationary and disconnected from Solomon, her most recent love.

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