Book Review “Fling!” Lily Iona Mackenzie

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Is it possible to come of age at 60 or 90? Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams? When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it. Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women head south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics. In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes-and a new man-increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit. Has Bubbles discovered a fountain of youth that everyone can drink from? *Praise for Fling!* Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read. ~ Lewis Buzbee, award-winning author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and faculty at University of San Francisco MFA program

Fling Cover

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First lines: Isle Of Skye, 1906. Malcolm- Heather MacGregor’s grandfather on her mother’s side- told anyone who was willing to listen that his granddaughter hadn’t been born the usual way. She’d danced right off one of his paintings, landing in the family’s potato patch, except the ground was too barren to produce much by the time she came along. It wasn’t a promising beginning. 

Mackenzie brings to the table a novel that has a little bit of everything. Hippies, brujos, romance, history and so much more. Each character is vibrantly alive even when they shouldn’t be. It’s a tale of realism, magical realism and the allure of Mexico.

There seems to be a bit of a trend with the women of the MacGregor clan. They are all eccentric and free spirited. The rigors of everyday routine drown them. They need action and adventure. 

Bubbles is a character all her own. She’s a very old lady on the outside but on the inside she may as well be a teenager. Her vitality is contagious and in some way, I think she was carrying around those memories of her family and her belief is what brought them into substance.

Feather was a tough one to get a handle on. She was the character I felt like I knew the least. Her personality always felt contradictory. For awhile I would feel like I had a good handle on who she was and then she would change and I felt discombobulated. 

The novel perfectly captures the people and traditions of Mexico. I could feel the baked earth beneath my feet. I could smell the foods cooking. Mackenzie does well with description.

There was a lot I enjoyed about the book and a few things I felt could of been done better. I’m granting it 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Fling! | Series:  N/A |  Author(s): Lily Iona Mackenzie |Publisher: Pen-L Publishing / Publication Date: 7-1-2015 |Pages: 272 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1942428299 | Genre(s): Magical Realism / Womens Lit | Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-23-2016 |Source: Copy from author

 

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