The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous by Suzanne Crowley
Merilee leads a Very Ordered Existence. V.O.E., for short.
Her schedule (which must not be altered) includes, among other entries:
- School (horrendous)
- Litter patrol (30 minutes daily)
- Lunch (PB&J and a pickle)
- Bottle return (Friday only at the Piggly Wiggly)
- Dame Fiona’s meditation show (Saturday only, 6:00 AM)
The V.O.E. is all about precision.
Merilee does not have time for Biswick O’Connor.
Merilee does not have time for Miss Veraleen Holliday.
He with his annoying factoids and runny nose. She with her shining white shoes as big as sailboats. Both of them strangers who, like the hot desert wind that brings only bad news, blow into town and change everything.
(jacket flap description)
Merilee reminds me of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Her family and friends have some pretty big issues in their lives. I couldn't quite figure out her dad who seemed absent even when he was in the room, but Uncle Dal and Grandma Birdy play key roles in her life with their own pasts and struggles.
The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous is not a light read, although it has some humorous moments. I struggled in the first third of the book to relate to Merilee, but by the last third I was pulled along by the story and wanted to know how it ended. Merilee observes people keenly, and sometimes hesitates to practice her keen insight in action or words.
I conflicted about this one. Sometimes Merilee's rhythm doesn't seem consistent with her VOE, but that can also move the story along. The vibrant and eccentric characters in Jumbo, TX add texture as well as noise.
I think I've given YAYs to lesser books (although I didn't know it at the time). I am going with a MAYBE for the top 20.