“Yet spending time with friends is the first thing we drop when life gets busy.”

These two quotes from the book, Rules for Visiting by Jessica Fracis Kane, truly captures the essence of her writing. This book is a calm exploration of many things that make up life. Narrated by May Attaway, an almost forty-year-old woman, whose profession is a gardener at a university.

Definitely not one of your fast reads, but I was able to truly sink into the book and it helped me slow down my own pace. The writing is so beautiful throughout with a great dose of witty humour that I was quite sad when the book ended. The novel covers many different aspects; from grief and loneliness to our connection with nature, from old time friendships to the impact of social media, from finding love to understanding and dealing with loss.

“I'm aware not everyone feels the way I do about trees, but I have no idea why not.”

May Attaway is by some turn of events, granted a four week paid leave and she decides to go and re-connect, in-person, with four of her friends who she has been out of touch with. She sees their lives up-close and she opens up about her own. She understands them a bit better and in the process, she also ends up building a great sense of self-awareness. It is a joy to be on this journey with May and come out at the end of the book, feeling very joyful for her. Without being imposing, the novel did also make me think about my friends who I ache to see.

The part I also loved about the book is the gorgeous illustrations of trees and a small note about them. I don't know if it was a design by the author or my own interpretation, but the interspersing tree images enabled a slow pace that let me enjoy the book a lot more. It's not just the people in May's life that ensures her calm state of mind, but nature and her profession as a gardener plays as much of a role in doing so. She is able to do something she loves and cares about, which brings that almost anchoring dimension to her life.

"She was the kind of person who had multiple copies of the books she loved most. That way, she said, she could always give one away.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend reading it. I have also already gifted this book and will be giving away more. Best to be read after a fast paced thriller or some heavy duty writing. This one is sure to let you breathe while you enjoy a great read.

You can buy the book from our online store here.