Monday, January 14, 2013
So I went to Books & Books while the YoungArtists were listening to people like Joshua Bell and Bill T. Jones and Adrian Grenier and Debbie Allen talk (oh, my), because I knew I could rely on a famous independent to cut the deck of new releases right. And there, on the front table, I found The Colour of Milk, by Nell Leyshon. I had never heard of it or her, but because I am forever milking my own metaphors, I was intrigued. Read the first two lines. Bought it. Finished it on the flight home. Held it to my chest—this riveting, fierce, enveloping, and I-know-you-want-to know-what-it-is-actually-about book, so let me explain that in a line or two. The Colour of Milk is the story of a girl in the year 1831 who has learned literacy, but at a terrible price. Milk is her story, her confession. Milk will break your heart.
Let me show you how it starts:
this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand.
in this year of lord eighteen hundred and thirty one I am reached the age of fifteen and i am sitting by my window and i can see many things. i can see birds and they fill the sky with their cries. i can see the trees and i can see the leaves.
and each leaf has veins which run down it.
and the bark of each tree has cracks.
i am not very tall and my hair is the colour of milk.
my name is mary and i have learned to spell it. m.a.r.y. that is how you letter it.