This is a book I reread often. The premise is simple: Delia Grinstead, a vaguely unhappy forty-year-old homemaker, runs away from home without any conscious intention of doing so. The tone is humorous, even upbeat, but it's impossible to lose sight of the fact that she abandons her family. Every step of her journey is an accident, a stumble; but she allows each step to carry her away. Is she forgivable? After at least a dozen readings, I still can't answer that.
I do know that the writing here is brilliant. Little phrases catch at me. A cardigan "clung gently to her arms and made her feel like a cherished child." Delia scoops up a cat "beneath his hot little downy armpits." Rock music is performed by "singers who might as well be gossiping amongst themselves except every now and then you manage to overhear a stray word or two."
And this passage, maybe my favorite from the whole book: "She was learning the value of boredom. She was clearing out her mind. She had always known that her body was just a shell she lived in, but it occurred to her now that her mind was yet another shell -- in which case, who was 'she'? She was clearing out her mind to see what was left. Maybe there would be nothing."
I have very mixed feelings about Delia's final choice at the end of the book. I even have mixed feelings about the fact that I have mixed feelings, because how could the story end any other way? Only one thing is clear: people who haven't read this book yet, should.