[ Epub ] ❧ Charms for the Easy Life Author Kaye Gibbons – Thepurelynaturalcompany.co.uk

Charms for the Easy Life This book swept me into its fabric from the first page, mainly because the main character, Charlie Kate, is so unconventional and the stories of her turn of the century life in the South are so shockingly humorous, tragic and honest We all hope to know someone or be someone a little like Charlie Kate always knowing exactly what to do in any situation, dauntlessly moving forward and dictating the way our world will be Like a magnet, her character attracts people to her, and whether she is This book swept me into its fabric from the first page, mainly because the main character, Charlie Kate, is so unconventional and the stories of her turn of the century life in the South are so shockingly humorous, tragic and honest We all hope to know someone or be someone a little like Charlie Kate always knowing exactly what to do in any situation, dauntlessly moving forward and dictating the way our world will be Like a magnet, her character attracts people to her, and whether she is truly right or wrong in her unlicensed medical practices, she generally always prospers The one inconsistency I find is that the narrator Charlie Kate s granddaughter spends the entire novel praising and admiring her grandmother s courage, strong will and independence, and in the end decides her own future merely by asking Charlie Kate s opinion and meekly following through on it While Charlie Kate s persona is highly developed, her daughter and granddaughter are comparatively shadowy figures, revolving as satellites to the greater personality It was a very enjoyable read, and as comforting as sitting in the kitchen while a storyteller spins colorful tales, but I ended wondering what the overall point was Don t ask me what it is about Kaye Gibbons She just has one of those voices that speaks to me from somewhere out of my ancestral southern past, I guess Some smooth, smokey drawl that captures my attention, and holds it, drawing it into the hearts of her characters, so that her stories for me are far, farthan the sum of their parts They are all women s stories, and stories of adversity, with a southern flavor that is so familiar to me, it truly seems to call out from my own distant past Don t ask me what it is about Kaye Gibbons She just has one of those voices that speaks to me from somewhere out of my ancestral southern past, I guess Some smooth, smokey drawl that captures my attention, and holds it, drawing it into the hearts of her characters, so that her stories for me are far, farthan the sum of their parts They are all women s stories, and stories of adversity, with a southern flavor that is so familiar to me, it truly seems to call out from my own distant past They are American stories that seem to resonate with many people other than myself, so there must beto it than the pale blue eyes of my great grandmother and her twin, that seem to look out at me from the pages and their voices that whisper as these stories progress.I love her I collect her books I read them over and over She s like a friend A Family Without Men, The Birches Live Gloriously Offbeat Lives In The Lush, Green Backwoods Of North Carolina Radiant, Headstrong Sophia And Her Shy, Brilliant Daughter, Margaret, Possess Powerful Charms To Ward Off Loneliness, Despair, And The Human Misery That Often Beats A Path To Their Door And They Are Protected By The Eccentric Wisdom And Muscular Love Of The Remarkable Matriarch Charlie Kate, A Solid, Uncompromising, Self Taught Healer Who Treats Everything From Boils To Broken Bones To Broken Hearts.Sophia, Margaret, And Charlie Kate Find Strength In A Time When Women Almost Always Depended On Men, And Their Bond Deepens As Each One Experiences Love And Loss During World War II Charms For The Easy Life Is A Passionate, Luminous, And Exhilarating Story About Embracing What Life Has To Offer, Even If It Means Finding It In Unconventional Ways. I should write a review on this, but I am too lazy I loved it though So much so that I turned back to page 1 and started over right after finishing This was better than Ellen Foster and that was pretty good. I adored Kaye Gibbons Ellen Foster, and very much enjoyed Sights Unseen too Charms for the Easy Life, first published in 1993, is the author s fourth novel Alice Hoffman, whose writing and stories I find have the same lovely intelligent but easygoing prose as Gibbons , writes that the novel is filled with lively humour, compassion and intimacy Charms for the Easy Life tells the story of three generations of fiery women, living without men Charlie Kate Birch, a self proclaimed doctor who I adored Kaye Gibbons Ellen Foster, and very much enjoyed Sights Unseen too Charms for the Easy Life, first published in 1993, is the author s fourth novel Alice Hoffman, whose writing and stories I find have the same lovely intelligent but easygoing prose as Gibbons , writes that the novel is filled with lively humour, compassion and intimacy Charms for the Easy Life tells the story of three generations of fiery women, living without men Charlie Kate Birch, a self proclaimed doctor who treats everything from leprosy to lovesickness with her roots and herbs , her daughter Sophia, who has inherited her mother s wisdom and will and applies them to her desire to rule the world around her and land the man of her choice , and granddaughter Margaret, whose struggle towards adulthood is complicated by World War II Margaret is the novel s captivating narrator, and lives with her mother and grandmother in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina.As is usual with first person perspective driven novels, we learn about the other characters through Margaret s portrayal of them Charlie Kate, particularly, is strong and forward thinking My grandmother was to be remembered for many achievements, from campaigning for in school vaccinations to raising money to buy prosthetics for veterans of the world war, but in the Beale Street area of Raleigh she lives in the memory of an old few as the first woman anybody knew with the courage not only to possess a toilet but to use it Sophia isof a shadowy figure at times, largely absent from much of the prose.The Birch family have historically been plagued by problems Their family has a remarkably high suicide rate, which is detailed in oddly beautiful prose in the first chapter Margaret tells us, of her remaining family members They threatened to kill themselves in the river all the time They used the threat in arguments with each other They said the words without thinking But they didn t go in the river, because the river was life to them, life all surging and all crashing into white foam on river rocks they had known their whole lives, and the thought of throwing themselves into a familiar current and banging choked and goggle eyed against rocks they had stood on and courted on and fished and dreamed on, and sat in the sun and dared to open their blouses and nurse their babies on, this was not something they could do They would walk fifty miles and jump in some other person s river, but not their own As is evident from this description, Gibbons creates such a vivid sense of place, and her writing feels continuously effortless.The novel has been slotted so well into the looming threat of war Gibbons startlingly describes conditions at the time, and is particularly involved with those lives lived without privilege, or in dire poverty Myriad details ground Charms for the Easy Life nicely into history, with references to popular culture, and mentions every now and again of wider conflict Gibbons also notes how important small changes, or transformations, in the world are to her protagonists, and how these changes translate into their own selves This is particularly poignant when she writes about ageing Sophia was showing signs of loneliness She had recently begun the process of resigning herself to the slide from beautiful lady to handsome older woman, adjusting her lipstick color from fire engine red to brick, exchanging bright beads for pearls and stylish platform soles for pumps And by process, I mean just that she had not fully committed her body to middle age yet Thoughtful in its outlook, and with a fascinating and tender story about non conformist women at its heart, Charms for the Easy Life is a novel which I would definitely recommend The relationships drawn here have so much complexity about them, and the story takes directions which I did not expect I shall close this review with a wonderful quote from the novel If my grandmother could ve populated the world, all the people would ve been women, and they all would ve been just like her Charms for the Easy Life is a mesmerizing fictional biography autobiography of three generations of women living unconventional lives in North Carolina against the backdrop of the World Wars The book revolves around the life of the narrator s grandmother, a self taught healer who appears to lead a bit of a charmed life Her life is not charmed in any sort of mystical sense, it slike she is so self possessed that a comparatively uncertain world bends itself to her will.I enjoyed the glim Charms for the Easy Life is a mesmerizing fictional biography autobiography of three generations of women living unconventional lives in North Carolina against the backdrop of the World Wars The book revolves around the life of the narrator s grandmother, a self taught healer who appears to lead a bit of a charmed life Her life is not charmed in any sort of mystical sense, it slike she is so self possessed that a comparatively uncertain world bends itself to her will.I enjoyed the glimpses of history that are presented in the book the folklore, competition for rations, and descriptions of trends in fashion and culture I also enjoyed the references to places that I have spent time in The only reason I m not giving this book five stars it that it seems to beof a collection of very rich character studies than a novel There is a plot, but the book isabout how the characters react to events than the events themselves The rest of the world fades into the background and the narration focuses with intense clarity on the emotional waves that the characters generate and reflect back into the world Also, the grandmother s skill at getting her way goes a bit beyond plausibility and sets her up as a bit of a fantastical character a sort of early 20th century southern feminist superhero Albeit a very, very cool one It belongs to a genre that I m not generally fond of, southern small town stories of generational ties with eccentric characters as the front cover blurb has it, as invigorating as sarsaparilla and as soothing as lemon balm tea They always seem to feature women who are not only independent and self achievers, but staunchly anti racist throughout the whole 20th century Still, Charms for the Easy Life is incontestably well written, and it pretty much steers clear of the traps of sentimentalit It belongs to a genre that I m not generally fond of, southern small town stories of generational ties with eccentric characters as the front cover blurb has it, as invigorating as sarsaparilla and as soothing as lemon balm tea They always seem to feature women who are not only independent and self achievers, but staunchly anti racist throughout the whole 20th century Still, Charms for the Easy Life is incontestably well written, and it pretty much steers clear of the traps of sentimentality and quirkiness My reason for being disappointed in it is the one note portrayals of the characters The constant center of attention is the narrator s grandmother, formidable Charlie Kate Birch, healer of sicknesses and straightener out of minds we are told over and over how everyone respects her after she contradicts them, how she sees people not treating each other right and gives them a piece of her mind except for her husband leaving her, she is very nearly invincible, and her victories are always easy Above all, she s concerned to get her daughter and granddaughter happily married off She is shadowed by the narrator, her meek granddaughter Margaret, who never does anything except what Charlie Kate says, never wants anything but what the matriarch wants, and is totally convinced that her life will be arranged for her and lo, an absolutely perfect husband turns up out of the blue, and the courtship goes without a hitch with the grandmother directing it I thought that Margaret would grow into independence over the course of the book, but no, when her grandmother dies she shelpless than ever, and will evidently be guided both by people around her and by Charlie Kate s memory Really, the title is apt, all three generations truly lead a charmed life, things are easy for them, and only Charlie Kate seems remotely to have earned it I have read two books a week for thirty years I am satisfied that I know everythingSo says Charlie Kate Birch, and she s not shy about sharing her knowledge, whether you want to hear it or not Charlie Kate is an early 1900s North Carolina midwife, herbalist, and self styled doctor with no official credentials She s feisty, outspoken, and somewhat manipulative, but also very civic minded and generous You can t help liking her, even if she is a little too full of herself Her daughter SoI have read two books a week for thirty years I am satisfied that I know everythingSo says Charlie Kate Birch, and she s not shy about sharing her knowledge, whether you want to hear it or not Charlie Kate is an early 1900s North Carolina midwife, herbalist, and self styled doctor with no official credentials She s feisty, outspoken, and somewhat manipulative, but also very civic minded and generous You can t help liking her, even if she is a little too full of herself Her daughter Sophia and granddaughter Margaret live in her orbit and are mostly grateful for the direction she gives their lives as a threesome Kay Gibbons writing is highly polished and carefully restrained a quality I m coming to appreciateandfor its rarity She also has a sly gift for humor that sneaks up on you One of the characters will make a seemingly dry observation, but if you circle back and read it again, you catch the subtlety and burst out laughing For example, when her mother Sophia asks God for help in a hurry, Margaret notesHe no doubt knocked Himself out getting to her, as she was such a trophy among his creations This is a quaint, charming, and at times hilarious story I really liked the portrayal of these three highly intelligent, book loving Southern women They learn from their mistakes and don t take any guff from men If you want your own easy life charm, you ll need to find the hind foot of a white graveyard rabbit caught at midnight, under the full moon, by a cross eyed Negro woman who has been married seven times It s amazingly easy to read and grabs you right away In fact, it feels so effortless but it s the kind of writing that you know was slaved over, honed and perfected , that I questioned how I could have gotten quite so much from it Two lovely ideas from this book The grandmother, when she s young, gets this lucky charm, that s supposed to bring her an easy life Her husband leaves her, tries to con her, she works as a doctor in the early 1900 s when infection and poverty are rampant but she i It s amazingly easy to read and grabs you right away In fact, it feels so effortless but it s the kind of writing that you know was slaved over, honed and perfected , that I questioned how I could have gotten quite so much from it Two lovely ideas from this book The grandmother, when she s young, gets this lucky charm, that s supposed to bring her an easy life Her husband leaves her, tries to con her, she works as a doctor in the early 1900 s when infection and poverty are rampant but she is blessed with a wonderful daughter and granddaughter they re all three smart, good looking, admirable, love each other deeply and admired.The grandmother gives the charm to her granddaughter fully believing in its worth as a lucky charm as a gift to her granddaughter s future husband and tells her to tell him It s a charm for an easy life Just depends what your definition of easy is I love that The relativity of life and the difference perspective makes about how you feel about your life.There s another line I really like too where the grandaughter says of her grandmother I admired her energetic mind and her muscular soul Isn t that a great thing to have a muscular soul One that s strong, flexible, resilient After My Antonia and Here Be Dragons I wanted a light readsome chick lit if you will This book sounded intriguing Set in North Carolina during WWII it tells the story of three generations of unconventional Southern women Charlie Kate, Sophia her daughter, and Margaret her granddaughterthe narrator Charlie Kate is a backwoods mid wife healer and the adventures medical conditions that she encounters are unique to say the least This is a book of strong women who depend on one another rat After My Antonia and Here Be Dragons I wanted a light readsome chick lit if you will This book sounded intriguing Set in North Carolina during WWII it tells the story of three generations of unconventional Southern women Charlie Kate, Sophia her daughter, and Margaret her granddaughterthe narrator Charlie Kate is a backwoods mid wife healer and the adventures medical conditions that she encounters are unique to say the least This is a book of strong women who depend on one another rather than men during the trying times in their lives and the amazing bond between the three of them Margaret s love and admiration for her grandmother shines through the book.My problems with the book Is there a plot It is mainly just anecdotes of the amazing Charlie Katethe only fully developed character in the book Sophia is just a shadowy character and even Margaret lacks depth Problem 2 What was with all of the suicides at the start of the bookthey had no relevance to the rest of the bookthey were just weird and intriguing Problem 3 Margaret, our narrator, was an absolute bore Are we really expected to believe that the hottest catch in town from the best family falls for her after she stares at his back in the hospitalNOPE I just kept waiting for Margaret to stop following her grandmother around to get interesting but she never did Too bad In my opinion this book had a lot going for it at the beginning but then the author dropped the ball and let it slowly tank.My rating OKbut disappointing in many ways

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