Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Savage Garden

It's been a heck of a week. Jess and I had to buy new tires for his work car, the Saturn, on Monday because the roofers left a large piece of aluminum next to the driveway that sliced through one of his. That night we dropped the van off at the repair shop. They called Jess on Tuesday and said that an animal had chewed through the spark plug wires, so they replaced them but wanted us to wait until Wednesday to pick it up. Dad took Mia and I to the shop. The bill was just under $200.00, but I was so happy to have my van back and the air conditioning fixed, I jumped in the driver's seat with a smile on my face. Until the air conditioning didn't work. I went back inside and asked the attendant who said that it would cost another $100-200 to fix the blower. *sigh* So the $200 was just for the spark plug wires. I was fuming on the way home, but at least it was working again. About half way home I noticed that my dash lights were gone and the battery indicator was down into the red. I turned off the radio and vents and started to pray. Turning off of the highway, I didn't have any blinker, and it wouldn't re-accelerate. I pushed on the gas and hear 4 or 5 loud popping noises from under the hood. I took my foot off of the accelerator and started praying out loud. The van picked up speed again, so I put my foot back on the gas and kept praying. At the corner just before home, I lost power steering and had to ease it to a stop on the shoulder. I called Jess and bawled. It was almost 90 degrees out, I was 1-1/2 miles from home, and I had a sleeping 4-year-old girl in the back. Jess called the repair shop which immediately (if over half an hour means immediately) sent out a tow truck. I know that God can make all things come to a good purpose, so I'm really praying that I can find a happy ending in this that doesn't cost us another several hundred dollars.

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills is an engrossing, enthralling read. In what other book can you find a discussion of Renaissance sculpture, the genetic ancestry of orangutans, Ovid, Dante, WWII, plus some spicy romance? Mills manages to throw all of that into this book and yet it remains a tightly written mystery. College student Adam Strickland is assigned a paper to look into the history of an unusual 16th century garden in Italy by his professor. Upon his arrival, he finds himself pulled into the intricate politics and machinations of the family as well as falling head over heels for the villa and its garden. The garden is filled with sculptures that seem to tell a story, it's up to Adam to put the pieces together and perhaps lift a family curse, because the eldest son was murdered by the Germans at the end of the war, and his death hangs heavily over the villa (including the entire third floor which has been locked since) and the small town as well. Adam is a friendly character who fills his narrative with bits of minutiae that may not move the story but are fascinating in their telling. His explanation for why he can see connections and meanings where others missed them is that he is so ordinary that perhaps he notices when things aren't as ordinary as they should be. Charming! My one complaint is that I figured out who Flora's lover was long before Adam. Mills describes the cities of Florence and Sienna with such love and detail, I wish I could book a trip right now. The denouement is a nice switch from what I thought was coming, and the last line was jaw-dropping. Does this mean that there are more Adam Strickland stories coming our way? I sincerely hope so!

Mia's imagination never fails to amaze me. She's wearing red, because she's Lightning McQueen, and playing with Strawberry Shortcake, Spider-man, Venom and an antenna she's named Emma. The latter three are listening to SS sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Yesterday she was so excited to ride in the tow truck; she got to meet Mater. I wish I could be four again.


amyanne said...

Hey Christy,

Would you be interested in joining the blog tour for Tricia Goyer's (fellow CFBA) new non-fiction teen book, My Life, Unscripted?

Send me an email and I'll send you some more info.

Thanks for your time.

Jackie said...

What happened then? That was scary. I had my Saturn spark plug wire replaced but didn’t go through such things. I guess the shop wasn’t that good or they just put in cheap parts.