Title: The Evolution of Jane
Author: Cathleen Schine
Length: 210 pages
The perfect fall day in Texas: a spinach and onion soup with lots of cheese mixed in, coffee gone cold, Huckleberry Sage in my Scentsy Warmer, all the windows open because it’s so nice outside, Tethered by Sleeping at Last playing softly on repeat, and The Evolution of Jane in front of me.
In a week of epiphanies, nostalgia, cold fronts, random spurts of rain, and recuperation after sheer emotional exhaustion, Schine’s novel is perfect and lovely. Soft and defined at the same time. A little more perfect than I expected.
It’s supposed to be a comedy… “A cerebral comedy of manners,” the Boston Globe calls it. I find that in itself humorous, as I haven’t laughed since the first page. Instead, it feels (oddly) exactly like life. It’s a mish-mash of inappropriate feelings, unexplained drama, stress where there should be none, and complete nostalgia.
It even has a delicious quote that made me swoon as it so much reflects how I feel about my own life. “I loved my job, for it allowed me to rub shoulders with ideas, to listen without having to retain, to gather information like flowers.”
My job, this job that is part author, part homeschool mom, part event coordinator, part reader and reviewer, part so many things… this job feels like that… like gathering flowers. My life feels like that in general. I am a forager, I pick up and discard things as I go, looking for any bit of nutrients and beauty I can get along the way.
I bought this book years ago at the height of my Darwin and Evolution studies. When I was trying to squeeze every bit of information on anything that briefly fascinated me. When I was trying to retain everything. How appropriate that I wait to read it now, when I can read it with more of a passing fancy, where I can absorb a story without trying so hard to remember it all.
Life isn’t meant for you to remember every single moment. If we were meant to remember it all with such clarity, I think that we would. Some things are best left discarded. This book, however, is not one of those things. If you buy it, you should keep it. It will get added to the re-read sometime pile.