Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.
Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.
Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.
Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.
Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.
If you read this book as more of a metaphor for life and less as an actual story, I think you will have better luck than I did.
I really, really liked a lot of it -- there are some amazing quotes you can pull out and there are some great thoughts about life & death to ponder -- but eventually I was just waiting for the book to end.
Agatha and Millie were what kept me reading. I was kind of skeeved out by Karl for a better part of the book and found him almost like an afterthought character. Not really sure why, to be honest, because he was not written that way.
Overall I am glad I read this book but I was hoping for more. I was disappointed because I adored it in the beginning. It just sort of fizzled out for me the closer I got to the end.