I was offered a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
A feel good book.
Tammy Louise Tyree lives in the small town of Spring with his Uncle E. and her autistic fifteen-year-old brother, Jar. Uncle E. makes a living by making worley gigs but spends much of what he earns on small scams and drinks. As the primary provider in the household, and having troubles making ends meet, Tammy has four jobs that keep her busy throughout the day. But Tammy is an ‘optometrist’, a word that her uncle has taught her, which means ‘somebody who sees the world through pink spectacles’, and a tough girl, and she will do anything to keep her family together and afloat. One day, checking her email at the cafe where she works, she receives a mysterious email mentioning an inheritance from her supposed family in Botswana, and quickly Tammy starts thinking about all the things she could do with the money. But there is a catch, and it is that she has to send some money in advance, a money that she does not have. She is asked to keep it confidential, but she lets it slip and soon all the town will lend her money so that she could receive her inheritance and invest in their business. But time goes by while Tammy waits for the money and needs to send more advances to Botswana.
This was one of the BEST novels that I have listened to lately. Not only the charismatic Tammy, which Michelle Babb describes as a female Forrest Gump, but also everything surrounding her. Her family is so special and with so many little details that they feel like real people. Secondary characters are not as developed as Tammy and his family, but Patricia Wood was able to bring them to life, and I felt that I was living in the small and colorful town of Spring with them all. Wood gave the characters a past and future prospects, even to the minor ones, which made me want to know more about them.
The style of the book was fresh and candid, and Wood gave wonderful personalities to the main characters. I love Tammy’s special language, always using words taught to her by her Uncle E. The dialogs were brilliant and completely natural, and Tammy’s relationship with her brother felt authentic. The dialogs between Tammy and Jar were endearing and hilarious at the same time.
Even though I was almost sure of the outcome regarding Tammy’s inheritance, Patricia Wood knew how to keep my attention until the very end, as more and more people get involved in lending money to Tammy and how things get more and more complicated. A conundrum, or a caterpillar, as Uncle E. would say.
Michelle Babb did a SPLENDID job narrating this book, and her style was the perfect for it. She really became Tammy and made the words sound very natural, but she also interpreted the other characters in a very special way, making clear but subtle differences, so that the listener always knows who is doing the talking. My favorite impersonation was Jar’s by far. At those moments I was not listening to Babb, I was listening to an autistic teenager arguing with his older sister, and some moments were quite funny. The freshness of the dialogs and Michele Babb’s expressivity made this an really enjoyable experience.
This was a book that I could not put down, and a book that had me smiling all the time I was listening to it. The naivete and optimism of Tammy and her family was really contagious, and I wished to stay with them forever. For sure I will listen to it again some time.
Available at Amazon/Audible
You can listen to an interview to Michelle Babb here: