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The florist's daughter
Patricia Hampl
Adult Nonfiction PS3558.A4575 Z466 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hampl (Blue Arabesque; I Could Tell You Stories) begins her very personal memoir with one hand clutching her dying mother Mary's hand, the other composing an obituary on a yellow tablet-an apt sendoff for an avid reader of biographies. As years of dutiful caretaking and a lifetime of daughterhood come to an end, Hampl reflects on her middle-class, mid-20th century middle-American stock, the kind of people who "assume they're unremarkable... even as they go down in licks of flame." Since her Czech father, Stan, couldn't afford college during the Depression, he made a livelihood as a florist. Hampl's wary Irish mother, a library file clerk, endowed her with the " traits of wordiness and archival passion." Like Hampl, Mary was a kind of magic realist-a storyteller who, finding people and their actions ancillary, "could haunt an empty room with description as if readying it for trouble." The memoir begins with the question of why, in spite of her black-sheep, wanderlust-hippie sensibilities, Hampl never left her hometown of St. Paul, Minn. In the end, the reason is clear. There was work to do, beyond daughterly duty: "Nothing is harder to grasp than a relentlessly modest life," she writes. With her enchanting prose and transcendent vision, she is indeed a florist's daughter-a purveyor of beauty-as well as a careful, tablet-wielding investigator, ever contemplative, measured and patient in her charge. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

With her mother dying, elegant memoirist Hampl thinks back on being the dutiful florist's daughter in St. Paul. With a six-city tour; reading group guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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