Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: 'Hive-Mind' by Gabrielle Myers

California author Gabrielle Myers earned her MA in English from the University of California at Davis and an MFA. in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California. She is an Associate Professor of English at San Joaquin Delta College. Before this book she has had her poems and essays published in professional journals and literary magazines. Of note, her other book is on nutrition - The New Prostate Cancer Nutrition Book. Gabrielle is also a gluten and dairy free chef.

With Gabrielle’s passion for food, healthy nutrition, and other aspects of being a chef, one would expect this book to be a cookbook – and actually it is on of sorts. Instead of dished she offers appreciation of nature and the response to living and dying and that in between land of substance abuse and subsequent recovery.

Gabrielle’s synopsis sets the path for the story and deserves quoting: ‘Gabrielle Myers takes us on a Northern California idyll – an internship at the Tip Top Farm and Produce in Vacaville. Here, the beauty of the land – light streaming through fig branches, carnelian tomatoes exploding in front of rows of sweet peas – is tended by the mysterious frenetic Farmer and her companion, Baker. Together with their intern Gabrielle, the trio tends a landscape full with sustenance and life. Their days are filled with back-breaking farm labor and their nights are alive with the freshest, most creative meals imaginable. At night, Gabi lays in her yurt pondering her mother’s suicide attempt, her subsequent recovery form alcoholism and drug addiction, and her won struggles with substance abuse as she tries to redefine her relationships and perceptions. While the pieces of her past reassemble and thrust toward an understanding, she finds Farmer on the floor of her living room, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Gabrielle works on stories to tell herself to make it alright, while just up the hill another mind, busy as a hive, fights a storm of loss and sorrow that threatens to shatter Eden. And what of these stories we tell ourselves? Myers asks. Sometimes, they can’t be rewritten.’

The flow of nature becomes the symphony of life and death and it is in this manner that Gabrielle makes us take note of our own worth and thoughts and dreams and battles. This is a heart-warming book that breathes on every page. Grady Harp, April 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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