Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Book 43 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from July 16 - 25

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

Summary (via the book jacket)
At ninety-one years old, Ptolemy Grey is one of the world's forgotten: by his family, by his friends, by even himself. Marooned in a cluttered Los Angeles apartment overflowing with mementoes from his past, Ptolemy sinks deeper into lonely dementia and into a paster that's best left buried. He's determined to pass the rest of his days with only his memories for company. Until, at his grandnephew's funeral, he meets Robyn and experiences a seismic shift, in his head, his heart, and his life.
Seventeen and without a family of her own, Robyn is unlike anyone Ptolemy has ever known. She and Ptolemy form an unexpected bond that reinvigorates his world. Robyn will not tolerate the way he has allowed himself to live, skulking in and out of awareness barely long enough to cash his small pension checks, living in fear of his neighbors and the memories that threaten to swallow him. With Robyn's help, Ptolemy moves from isolation back into the brightness of friendship and desire. But Robyn's challenges also push Ptolemy to make a life-changing decision that will affect both of them: to recapture the clarity and vigor of his fading mind and unlock the secrets he has carried for decades.

My Opinion
I wavered between 3 and 4 stars but went down to 3 because of the rough start.  The narration style and the fact that there are no chapter breaks took a bit to get used to but Ptolemy grew on me as I settled in.  It was a very unique premise, there was a clear story arc, I liked the relationships between the characters, and the ending felt right.  

This may not be a book I'll rave about but I enjoyed it while I was reading it and missed the characters when I finished.

A Few Quotes from the Book
" 'The older you get the more you live in the past,' Coy intoned like a minister introducing his sermon. 'Old man like me don't have no first blue sky or thunderstorm or kiss. Old man like me don't laugh at the taste of a strawberry or smell his own stink and smile. You right there in the beginnin' when everything was new and true. My world is made outta ash and memories, broken bones and pain.' "

"He liked to see the young woman laughing. It was to him like a gift from God, and so he liked watching TV with her, when her hard life let up for a moment and she didn't need her anger or her knife."

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