This is a quirky, whimsical story of a motherless girl, determined to find love in her precarious life. With a lot of courage – and some very funny antics along the way – she succeeds.
The tortoise of the title is her friend at one end of the continent, Portland, Oregon, and a mouse called Wedge at her home at the other end, St. John’s, Newfoundland. She talks to them when neither her Dad, whom she adores, or her uncle Thoby, are available. With no mother, sisters or brothers to trip her up, the protagonist, Audrey Flowers (often called Oddly), is original and abrupt in her talking and dealings. But her search for affection never deserts her and she batters her way through to a fairly convincing sense of home.
Of the author, critics write, “her work twinkles with wordplay”. Jessica Grant lives in St. John’s and you get a vivid feeling of the closeness of that city to the U.K. with many plane trips back and forth in this book. She is a most original writer and has won prizes for her stories, in particular “Making Light of Tragedy.”