Friday, April 14, 2017

Connie May Fowler's Cri de Coeur For the Environment

Product Details

Well, my library was taking its own sweet time adding this new book by Florida writer Connie May Fowler to the collection so I got my copy by going to the source. I knew I would want to write about this very important memoir for my radio program, The Florida Book Page. I messaged the author through her Facebook page ( and I had the book in a couple of days. My radio review won't be broadcast until next fall and I sure don't want you to wait that long to put it on your "to read" lists.

Connie May Fowler has a beautiful soul, one that has been tested over the course of her life too many times. She novelized her neglected childhood, the chaos and hopelessness, with the Oprah pick "Before Women Had Wings," and wrote a harrowing memoir of an abusive relationship in "When Katie Wakes." But there is nothing fragile about the Connie May Fowler who resettles at Alligator Point, her own tiny piece of heaven on the pristine shores of Florida's panhandle.

There are many ways to handle grief. Each of us finds our own path. But this book called to me because for her, and for me, nature, our mother earth, has always been the way forward. A writer, a loner, Ms. Fowler lived with her animal family - each dog has his/her own outsize personality - in a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico, a body of water that generously deposited daily gifts to her door and offered healing that she would never have found anywhere else.

Fowler's writing is so fluid, so luminous, that every wondrous day of discovery that she describes feels as though it's your own. Each bird, starfish, seahorse, turtle nest is a wonder. Each day with lines written is our accomplishment as well as hers. Love arrives, gains trust, stays. Nature's treasures shared seem twice as precious. And then it happens.

On April 20, 2010, the BP oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the gulf. If you live here in Florida you may remember being glued to the TV as we watched in horror. Scientists worked feverishly to cap the well as months passed and the coasts of five states were despoiled with tar balls and dead sea creatures. In the end, 210 million gallons, an incomprehensible figure, spewed into the turquoise home of our fragile marine life.

In agonizing prose, Ms. Fowler takes us through the days, weeks, and months that she and her husband Bill activate neighbors, write letters, and battle the Army Corps of Engineers, all the time waiting for the now discolored sea, smelling of death, to disgorge its victims on their front lawn.

"A Million Fragile Bones" is both beautiful and horrible, a desperate cry to the world. Greed, corruption, and money were the motivators behind the oil spill. We may never know the extent of the damage but there's no doubt that it could be decades before mother nature begins to heal herself. If you have ever found solace in the sea, or the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake, the Hudson, the Cape Cod National Shore, then this book is a must read. Add it to your list today.


Paul Woodside said...

Great review! Can't wait to read it!

Sallyb said...

Hi Maryellen. I'll get it in the mail this week. Promise!