Anyone who thinks that retirement is rocking chair and Medicare is in for a surprise when they meet the folks at Fair Acres Home. This charming first novel by eighty-five-year-old Effie Leland Wilder stars Hattie McNair, a journal-keeper and eavesdropper extraordinaire. Hattie overhears a resident planning her own funeral -- complete with caterer ...
Anyone who thinks that retirement is rocking chair and Medicare is in for a surprise when they meet the folks at Fair Acres Home. This charming first novel by eighty-five-year-old Effie Leland Wilder stars Hattie McNair, a journal-keeper and eavesdropper extraordinaire. Hattie overhears a resident planning her own funeral -- complete with caterer so that her daughter-in-law's cooking doesn't make the funeral-goers sorry they came. Hattie begins her journal that night. Through the entries and letters to a friend on the outside, Hattie tells the stories of the high -- and low -- times at Fair Acres that is sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always uplifting.
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-03-13 Hattie McNair, the feisty protagonist of this modest, semi-autobiographical first novel, is a widow living in a South Carolina retirement home. Through her diary entries, we watch as the home's residents tell their life stories, exchange confidences and gossip, develop romantic crushes and turn to one another for support. Longing for a change in her daily routine, Hattie debates whether life is worth living. Her answer is a resounding ``yes.'' Together with Minna McKenzie, a retired music teacher, she plays piano duets, belting out a Scott Joplin rag. On an adventurous walk, Hattie discovers an empty, mysterious cottage completely covered with kudzu vines, tracks down its owner, a reclusive widower, and helps persuade him to rent it out. She also comforts her friend, Sarah Moorer, who is dying of cancer. Interpersed with the journal entries are letters to friends and cheery light verse (``August is a messy month/ With skeeters, flies, and fleas, / With thunderstorms and gale alarms/ And weeds up to your knees''). More a sketch than a finished work, this is an unpretentious, occasionally poignant look at aging. Illustrations. (Apr.)
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