Excerpt from Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Amaryllis in Blueberry

by Christina Meldrum

Amaryllis in Blueberry
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Maybe Aletheia couldn't be found to give Pandora truthfulness." I answered my own question, as it seemed Mama had no intention of answering. "Maybe, unlike hope, truth couldn't be contained in the jar."


It was at that very moment that BEFORE passed away. For a second or so I thought I was seeing Mama like Papa had minutes before: she seemed both blurry and bright. She looked dusty, yet the dust had a white-yellow shimmer. And she waved, not with her hands. Her body waved, undulated, but barely. Just barely. And the smell. It was stronger than Papa's, as if Papa had dragged in his bucket of fish guts, and fish heads with their bulging fish eyes, and cooked them up. I looked toward Papa, away from Mama, and the smell faded, as if it blew away. Then I looked at her again. Wham. It blew back. Like someone had cut the cheese. The phonograph needle lifted, the room fell silent. Then the hum began: the monotonous chorus. It started out softly then picked up volume. I looked toward Tessa, wondering whether the joy I heard was hers, but while looking at Tessa, I heard only silence. So I looked again at Mama. The hum began softly then picked up volume.

The taste came then. Sort of an aftertaste. It was the first time I'd ever experienced this taste. It wasn't sour or salty, yet it made me pucker. Even though I didn't like the taste, I felt myself relishing it. So later, when the taste became an afterthought, I longed for it.

"You thought that dead snake was beautiful, Yllis?" Mama said.

I nodded my head. I wasn't sure what I was sensing—I didn't know it was guilt. But I knew the experience was real. I wondered why I hadn't sensed it before. And I thought about the painful, beautiful truths that hover about like gnats—about how so often we just swat them away: Papa wasn't my papa, that blue-eyed half blood was. It wasn't Papa who was the bastard. It wasn't Grace.

It was me.

All the emotion swirling around this fact had distorted it for me before. But there it was, spread out before me on my birthday, just like that snake.


"Did you kill that snake, Yllis?" Mama said, although she knew I wouldn't do such a thing: I'm no killer.

"Nuh-uh."

Our dog Lint moseyed over and lay on my feet, as if trying to back me, as if to say, "How could you ask her that?" Given all I'd seen and heard and smelled, I thought I might look down and find that colorless Lint had a color after all. But Lint was hued as always, that color that was no color and every color, like lint.

"Well, at least it can't bite anybody now," Papa said.

"Even dead rattlers can bite," I said. "Even a rattler with its head chopped off can bite."

"Stop being contradictory, Yllis," Papa said. "Show your father some respect."


"You're not my father. That Indian we saw? He's my father. I know for sure he is."

"Your father?" Tessa said. "Hah. I knew it. I always figured you were adopted."

"What?" Mama said. "Why would you say that, Yllis?"

"Stop that, Yllis," Papa said. "You stop that right now."

"That's ridiculous, Yllis," Mary Catherine said, but she strangled her wrist with her rosary beads.

"Now whose pants are burning?" Grace said.


Somebody needs to tell Aletheia's story, I thought: truth should have her day. As far as I could tell, I was the only one whose pants weren't burning—that is, until Papa gave me the paddling.

But now? Now I know Aletheia didn't need my help. She was perfectly capable of telling her own story.

Excerpted from Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum. Copyright © 2011 by Christina Meldrum. Excerpted by permission of Gallery Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Slave Castles & Synthethesia

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.