A small pet is often an excellent companion. -– Florence Nightinggale
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey is an intriguing little book. I found it hiding amidst many a bigger volume in the non-fiction science section and was immediately drawn to its cover. With a dark-lettered title against a pale blue background, a quaint painted snail climbing over the words, and a reviewer’s quote of “Beautiful” at the top, the little book jumped in my bag. And I’m glad it did.
It’s the tale of a woman and a snail. How a tiny creature gave a bedridden patient company, focus and gratitude throughout a long, debilitating illness. The book is a combination of the author’s observations of a snail that lived beside her bed, and the insights and lessons that came forth from her experience. Also woven throughout are quotes from 19th century naturalists, as well as fascinating research that the author learned about her mollusk companion. And though the author’s references to the evolution of snails are frequent, I chuckle over them and, instead, praise our Amazing Creator for the incredibly intricate traits He lovingly and thoughtfully designed in the little creatures we call snails.