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Copyright Guildford Spike WI 2013

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Last Book Review


Thank you for a fabulous discussion of "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert last night.  


This was a multi-faceted book with several threads and allegories running throughout.  Set in the time when the concept of a scientist was just evolving the themes seemed to cover childhood, feminism, sexuality, abolitionism, evolution, spiritualism and more.  While the vast majority of our group liked the book it seemed that everyone liked it for a different reason, be it the history, botany, interpersonal relationships, characters, language or the binding closet, this book really does have something for everyone.  While a long read (kindle average 10hrs 22, audio book 21hrs) the book spans 2 generations and their lives are not boring, several commented on the feeling of an epic or saga which is unusual for a book which covers the life of a woman with a passion for mosses.  One of the first points to be raised and which came up regularly in discussion was the binding closet alluded to earlier, while effectively a spinster the main protagonist has discovered through reading, the sexual world, as a teenager she learns the art of masturbation which takes place in her secret room, the closet where she repairs books, this allows the author to then use 'the binding closet' as a euphemism throughout the story, which is in some ways a blessing as her language around the subject is otherwise limited and would have become repetitive.  So to quote another review, this is a tale of "Mossy Masturbation" but it's also so much more, an intriguing look back at a period of history when so much of the world lay unknown, when voyages took months and the theory of evolution was being developed.  Our 10 readers gave the book a respectable 7.6/10, only 1 stopped reading and all those who finished gave it 7+ (std dev 1.28).