MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

Three Things About Elsie

by Joanna Cannon

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon X
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2018, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2019, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"We've not seen you in the dayroom very much. There are lots of activities going on, did you not fancy card making yesterday?"

I've got a drawer full of those cards. I could congratulate half a dozen people on the birth of their beautiful daughter with one pull of a handle.

"Perhaps next week," I said.

I heard Miss Ambrose take a deep breath. I knew this meant trouble, because she only ever does it when she needs the extra oxygen for a debate about something.

"Florence," she said.

I didn't answer.

"Florence. I just want to be sure that you're happy at Cherry Tree?"

Miss Ambrose was one of those people whose sentences always went up at the end. As though the world appeared so uncertain to her, it needed constant interrogation. I glanced out of the window. Everything was brick and concrete, straight lines and sharp corners, and tiny windows into small lives. There was no horizon. I never thought I would lose the horizon along with everything else, but when you get old you realize whichever direction you choose to face, you find yourself confronted with a landscape filled up with loss.

"Perhaps we should have a little rethink about whether Cherry Tree is still the right place for you?" she said. "Perhaps there's somewhere else you'd enjoy more?"

I turned to her. "You're not sending me to Greenbank."

"Greenbank has a far higher staff-to-resident ratio." Miss Ambrose tilted her head. I could see all the little lines in her neck helping it along. "You'd have much more one-to-one attention."

"I don't want one-to-one attention. I don't want any attention. I just want to be left in peace."

"Florence, as we get older, we lose the ability to judge what's best for us. It happens to everyone. You might enjoy Greenbank. It might be fun."

"It's not much fun when no one listens to what you say." I spoke to the radiator.

"Pardon?"

"I'm not going. You can't make me."

Miss Ambrose started to say something, but she swallowed it back instead. "Why don't we try for a compromise? Shall we see how things go over the next ... month, say? Then we can reassess."

"A month?"

"A reevaluation. For all of us. A probationary period."

"Probation? What crime did I commit?"

"It's a figure of speech, Florence. That's all." Miss Ambrose's shoes tapped out a little beige tune on the carpet. She pulled out a silence, like they always do, hoping you'll fill it up with something they can get their teeth into, but I was wise to it now.

"It's Gone with the Wind tomorrow afternoon," she said eventually, when the silence didn't work out for her.

"I've seen it," I said.

"The whole world's seen it. That's not the point."

"I was never very big on Clark Gable."

I was still looking at the radiator, but I could hear Miss Ambrose lean forward. "You can't just bury yourself in here, Florence. A month's probation, remember? You've got to meet me halfway."

I wanted to say, "Why have I got to meet anybody halfway to anywhere?" but I didn't. I concentrated on the radiator instead, and I didn't stop concentrating on it until I heard the front door shut to.

"He had bad breath, you know, Clark Gable," I shouted. "I read about it. In a magazine."

* * *

There are three things you should know about Elsie, and the first thing is that she's my best friend.

People chop and change best friends, first one and then another depending what kind of mood they happen to find themselves in and who they're talking to, but mine has always been Elsie and it always will be. That's what a best friend is all about, isn't it? Someone who stands by you, no matter what. I can't say we haven't had our arguments over the years, but that's because we're so opposite. We even look opposite. Elsie's short and I'm tall. Elsie's tiny and I have big feet. Size eleven. I tell everybody. Because Elsie says there comes a point when feet are so large, the only thing left to do is to boast about them.

Excerpted from Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. Copyright © 2018 by Joanna Cannon. Excerpted by permission of Scribner. 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Cozy Mysteries

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossings
    Crossings
    by Alex Landragin
    Crossings is a beautiful, if slightly messy, time-bending debut. It reads like a vampire novel, sans...
  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for an Echo
    Waiting for an Echo
    by Christine Montross
    Dr. Christine Montross had been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly a decade when she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    He Started It
    by Samantha Downing

    A new thriller from the twisted mind behind the mega hit My Lovely Wife.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Woman Before Wallis
    by Bryn Turnbull

    The true story of the American divorcée who captured the Prince's heart before Wallis.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Last Flight
by Julie Clark

The story of two women and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.