Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Come, Thou Tortoise, Jessica Grant

Vintage Canada, 432 pages

ISBN 0307397556

Come, Thou Tortoise is an absolutely wonderful story about love, loyalty, and the many different faces of honesty from first-time Canadian novelist Jessica Grant.   The main character, Audrey “Oddly” Flowers, moved from Newfoundland to Oregon to be with her rock-climbing boyfriend.  Finding apartment life too stifling, the boyfriend decides to seek new adventures on his own, entrusting a three hundred year old tortoise, Winnifred, to Audrey’s care.  Audrey and Winnifred, united in their abandoned state, form nearly psychic bonds with each other.  Then one day, Audrey receives a phone call from her uncle telling her that her father has had a terrible accident and is in a coma.   Her father dies while she is on her way home, setting Audrey off on a journey to learn some important truths about her past, begin a promising future and reunite with the steadfast Winnifred, who makes an excellent if unexpected narrator.  My only frustration with this novel was that it presented me with a dilemma – I needed to see what happened to Audrey, but I didn’t want the story to ever end.  Darkly funny, this offbeat and insightful coming-of-age novel will appeal to teen and adult readers who enjoyed Marika Cobbold’s Guppies for Tea and Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness.   

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