Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Beauty of Peaches

Since my May reread is the entire Peaches series by Jodi Lynn Anderson, I've decided to do a post for each book. I've just finished the first in the series, Peaches, and it strikes me that for years I've been comparing these books to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and while there are some obvious similarities, there are also some pretty glaring differences that I forgot about. First of all Peaches isn't a summer book. I mean, it is, but it's also not. The story begins at the start of spring and winds its way all the way to the end of that summer. Second, and most importantly, the three girls at the center of Peaches aren't the sort of friends that the Sisterhood is. They don't begin as friends, but as (mostly) strangers. This first book is the story of them finding each other, finding that special sort of friendship that they'd been missing their whole lives, and also of beginning to figure out who they are. Growing up. Coming into themselves a bit. And though the girls fit neatly into labeled boxes -- the slacker, the rich girl, and the quiet one -- they are bigger and more complex than those labels right from the beginning. Their personalities are not nearly as simple or clear-cut as a summary of the book would have you believe. Additionally, Anderson's writing style is absolutely beautiful. The way she tells the story, the way her words work together, is like the perfect Southern drawl or the perfect long summer day. It's lazy, wandering, and just brilliant.

And I don't know what there is to say about this book. It's so layered and so wonderful. This is a book so completely ripe with setting and reading it again just pulled me right back in. To the Darlington Peach Orchard, to Leeda, Birdie, and Murphy, to the wandering descriptions and slow-burning epiphanies that sprinkle the pages. I've highlighted quite a bit in this book, but a couple of passages in particular offer the best of this book.

This quote takes place (minor spoiler) as Murphy is watching Birdie Darlington try to start fires in order keep the peach trees in the struggling orchard alive through the coming frost:
Murphy knew there was no use searching herself for the cynicism that would make it seem distant and dark instead of raw and terrible. Birdie was trying to save her home single-handedly, and there was no way she could. (pg. 99) 
And this is just one of my absolute favorite lines:
And the rain sounded like it was washing the whole world away. (pg. 283)

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