Birdie Wainwright see things that aren’t there – purple flowers growing out of floors and alpine slopes where her stairs ought to be.It’s just her macular degeration acting up. Nothing is going to stop this tango-loving grandmother! When she breaks her ankle side-stepping a “boulder”, Birdie’s visions take on form and voice as Huckleberry Finn. Birdie and Huck explore the complexities of life, and Birdie discovers more than she imagined possible about love family, reconciliation – and hearing from God in unexpected, albeit utterly delightful, ways.
Patti Hill (in her own words) —
It might be more exciting to tell you what I’m not. I’m not a pirate. Or an astronaut. Or an opthamologist, which would be amazing.
The next best thing – honest! – is being a storyteller.
Although you and I don’t know each other, when you read my stories, we’ll travel together and meet amazing characters you’ll be thinking about long after the story ends. I love that.
When not writing, my favorites things are reading, hiking, photography, friends, and good food. Boring, right? It gets worse. I’m happily married to Hunky Hubby, the model for all things wonderful about men. I’m the mom to two grown sons and the mother-in-law to a sweet gift from God. And I’m owned by the wonder dog, Tillie. Life is good in Colorado. I hope it’s good where you are, too.
I really, really do.
I’m working hard to release novel #7 by April 2016, The San Clemente Bait Shop and Telephony. My main character talks to the past on an antique telephone and discovers a clue to her missing brother. She also finds love, eventually.
I have had Seeing Things on my Kindle for a while now. When I finally had a break between review books, I dove into this sometimes quirky, all the time touching story of family. Patti Hill has a different way of seeing things from other authors, and for that I am thankful. This contemporary novel explores the way families interact — with hurt feelings and rejection and love and forgiveness. Birdie had a lot to teach, but also a lot to learn, and so did I. If you like contemporary family drama, make sure you check this one out. It is also FREE for Kindle Unlimited!
Characterization is key in Seeing Things. Birdie Wainright is a great character. She is a very active and vibrant senior citizen who lives with her age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with graciousness and style. When a fall puts her in the middle of her son’s semi-dysfunctional family, she is relegated to the guest bedroom. But in typical Birdie-style she puts both feet (one good/one injured) into the middle of the mix. Other characters — Andy her distracted son, Suzanne her sometimes passive/sometimes aggressive and always stressed daughter-in-law and Fletcher her angst-ridden teenage grandson — are all ripe for intervention with varying degrees of success. And you will love the supporting and supportive cast of housekeeper Lupe and The Bats, other women living with low-vision realities. And did I mention the imaginary character of Huck Finn? He plays an important role in the ultimate healing of the family.
Even though I had a bout with (mercifully temporary and partial) blindness early on in my journey with Multiple Sclerosis, I never had to deal with a world in which glimpses of clear vision are marred by a gray fog. Birdie’s AMD was an eye-opener for me! (Please excuse that really bad pun.) But what Birdie couldn’t see, she trusted by faith in God. Her prayers for her family, or as she put it, lowering them through the roof to reach Jesus, are lovely and loving. One particular prayer for Suzanne shows the real-life struggle to pray for those who are our enemies. It is also laugh out loud hilarious!
Fletcher introduces Birdie to the wonders of Asian food with heartburn and hallucination-inducing Shu Mai with Spicy Mango Sauce. Oh, my mouth was watering. So I have included a recipe for the dim sum favorite at the end of this post.
Seeing Things has been out for a while (2009), but still a great read from Patti Hill. I rank this one highly recommended and a good bet for book club discussions!
Great for book clubs.
To purchase this book, click HERE.
(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
Pork and Shrimp Filling:
2 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic, smashed
4 green onions, chopped
4 egg whites
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 4-ounce can water chestnuts, minced
One 10-ounce package round wonton wrappers
Napa cabbage leaves, for lining the steamer
For the filling: In the bowl of a food processor, add the shrimp, ground pork, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, green onions, egg whites, lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pulse the ingredients until smooth, 3 to 5 times. It should be somewhat chunky, not totally pureed. Put the filling into a bowl and fold in the water chestnuts.
To determine if the filling is seasoned well, make a small patty, about 2 tablespoons. Place a small saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once heated, add the tester patty and cook on both sides until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper-towel-lined plate and taste. Adjust seasoning to the remaining filling if needed.
Line each tray of your bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves and cover with the lid. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large, wide pan. Set the bamboo steamer over the pot. Continue to add water as needed.
Place a wonton wrapper on a clean surface and add about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water. Fold and pleat as you gather the wrapping around the filling, leaving the top of the filling uncovered. Gently tap the shu mai on your work surface, flattening the bottom and allowing it to stand upright and make a basket shape.
Put the shu mai in the cabbage-lined steamers and cover with the lid. Steam the dumplings until cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
To achieve the full effect of these Shu Mai, serve with Spicy Mango Sauce (from Allrecipes).
3/4 cup finely minced mango
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from one lime
1/2 small Thai chile pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Stir mango, rice vinegar, lime juice, Thai chile pepper, garlic, and hot chile paste in a bowl until well combined. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro.