This review is of the audiobook version of Tilly and the Crazy Eights.
Monique Gray Smith, Author
Michelle Thrush, narrator
March 20, 2020
Blurb: Winner of the 2019-20 First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award
An unexpected journey can be powerful medicine.
When Tilly receives an invitation to help drive eight elders on their ultimate bucket list road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, she impulsively says yes. Before she knows it, Tilly has said goodbye to her family and is behind the wheel – ready to embark on an adventure that will transform her in ways she could not predict, just as it will for each and every one of the seniors on the trip, who soon dub themselves “the Crazy Eights.”
Tilly and the Crazy Eights each choose a stop to make along the way – somewhere they’ve always wanted to go or something they’ve wanted to experience. This takes them on a route to Las Vegas and Sedona, with a final goal of reaching the Redwood Forest. Each stop becomes the inspiration for secrets and stories to be revealed. The trip proves to be powerful medicine as they laugh, heal, argue, and reveal hopes and dreams along the way. With friendships forged, love found, hearts broken and mended, Tilly and the Crazy Eights feel ready for anything by the time their bus rolls to a stop in New Mexico. But are they?
It took me far too long to “read” Tilly and the Crazy Eights and that is all on me and no way reflects the quality of the book or the storytelling, both of which are first rate.
Tilly and the Crazy Eights is about a group of Canadian native elders who want to attend the annual powwow in Arizona, but each has a bucket list item of where they’d like to stop along the way.
Along for the ride, to drive and keep the elders on track is Tilly who is facing her own issues, regarding her life and marriage; she also has a bucket list stop of her own.
Tilly and the Crazy Eights is funny, endearing, enlightening, poignant, bittersweet, and so many other adjectives. I came away not only loving this cast of very memorable characters but also learned a great deal about the lives of Native Americans that definitely left me wanting to know more.
The stories of all of these elders are just wonderful. The author has taken such care to provide them with worthy tales. Whatever their situation is, we the reader come away caring. I certainly did. My favorite was Lucy who, though an elder, is young at heart and lives her life to the fullest with an admirable impish joy.
I also came away feeling that Native Americans are far more in touch with the nature and the land than typical individuals as well as possessing a deep spirituality that I found inspiring. Tilly and the Crazy Eights touched me on so many levels.
Michelle Thrush narrated the story for Bespeak Audio and did a great job of bringing the characters to life.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.