21. Orange Mint and Honey

by Carleen Brice
started 5/6 finished 5/10

What a perfect book to review on Mother’s Day! My mother passed 10 years ago and she is buried in another state, so this day usually just goes by in a blur of work.
This book made me grateful that our relationship was pretty drama free as we are both pretty easy going people.

Shay Dixon is having such a difficult time in grad school that her advisor “suggests” that she take a year off to get herself together. With no boyfriend or friends to speak of, she turns to her spiritual advisor, Nina Simone, to help figure out what to do. Yes, Nina Simone is dead. But she appears to Shay and tells her to go home.
Shay at first resists because her relationship with her mother, Nona, is pretty non-existent. While Shay was growing up, Nona was an alcoholic and often left her to fend for herself, once leaving her alone for a whole week. As a result, Shay is bitter and resistant to any sort of contact with Nona, but Nina Simone insists that this is what she must do.
Nona has now been sober for 5 years, has a 3 year old daughter and spends her time gardening instead of drinking. No matter how many apologies or olive branches she extends, Shay just can’t bring her self to believe in Nona’s sobriety and even though she is staying in her house can’t bring herself to reconcile with her mother.
She soon finds herself with a boyfriend, her first ever at 25, and starts to open up to life a little more. But when she is faced with a few life-changing events she is forced to deal with all of the resentment and bitterness that she has so far been unwilling to part with.
One of the best novels about mother-daughters relationships that I have read. Having the issues surrounding addiction was a great 21st century twist that many (unfortunately) can relate to.

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