Reading Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation was like getting a love letter from a tree- delightfully unexpected and I believed every word. This is what it’s like to be me, I thought, even though I’m not married, don’t have a child, haven’t experienced a single event of mid-adult life. More accurately then, This is what it’s like to be in my head: bits of things poets have said, random facts that aren’t random about space and dead people and antelopes, the occasional prayer to Rilke. I read this book in an afternoon, nodding the whole time like a bobble head on a good drive, afterward wanting fifty more just like it. When you find the rare author who thinks the way you do, it’s like being given a private tutor. Before that point the classroom was a mess, confusing as hell and the crayons were melting, but when this person steps in you at least know the lesson plan, what’s being asked of you.

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