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Quotes Taken From: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I made it my mission to finish this book. I’ve been very distracted, or perhaps, making myself distracted, with many other things that aren’t particularly beneficial.

I wasn’t eager to finish because of any negative reason – I loved this book. Once I actually put my damn phone down, I was able to get absorbed into the pages and reach the ending. I had to have a pen or pencil nearby because there were just so many sentences and paragraphs that needed to be highlighted (not all of them are listed in this blog post).

Three Things About Elsie follows the main character Florence, an 84 year old woman living in Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. A face from her past presents himself as the newest resident at Cherry Tree, forcing Florence to revisit memories that were buried deep in order to both prove her sanity and also what she has always believed to be true.

This book, like Cannon’s previous novel “The Trouble With Goats And Sheep”, is a brilliant reflection on everyday life being not-so-everyday.

Here are some of the quotes I loved:

It would be so much easier […] if you knew what the world’s intentions were in the first place. It would save such a lot of energy. Instead of paddling around aimlessly, you could swim with confidence towards your target, ignoring the temptation and the distraction, and all the other swimmers, who battled and argued with the tide. 

You can change the world from this kitchen table if you want to […] All you have to do is make wise decisions. 

When your days are small, routine is the only scaffolding that holds you together. 

Bravery means you have a choice, doesn’t it? […] It means you could have turned away but you chose not to. 

Everyone’s soul is clogged up with something. We collect it as we travel through life. 

[…] who you are is the difference you make in the world.

Sometimes, you needed something tangible, something you could hold in your hand, to prove to yourself that your existence wasn’t a complete waste of time. 

Some of us must leave more than a footprint, or everything would always stay the same. 

Sometimes, you need to hold on to a small worry, to stop you from reaching out for something bigger. 

Every one of us is damaged. We need the faults, the breaks, the fracture lines […] However else would all the light get in? 

Sometimes, you go through an experience in life that slices into the very bones of who you are, and two different versions of yourself will always sit either side of it, like bookends. 

Every journey takes courage […] Even the ones in which we have no choice.

You can’t define yourself by a single moment […] That moment doesn’t make you who you are. 

Because sometimes you need to run away. You need to believe in something without looking for proof. You need to enjoy a thing without finding a need to measure its value. You need to run away from a familiar life, into something quite unfamiliar. 

Perhaps the most important moments of all turn out to be the ones we walk through without thinking, the ones we mark down as just another day […] We benchmark our lives with birthdays and Christmases and holidays, but perhaps we should think more about the ordinary days.


If you are UK-based, lemme know if you’d like to do a book swap in the comments section.

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