Rules for Visiting

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

What an odd, quirky book.

 May is an introverted, socially inept individual. She is 40ish, still lives at home with her father, and works as a landscaper for the college. She attended college, has a degree in landscape architecture, and can count the number of her friends on the fingers of one hand. All her friends moved away, and most are married with children. Having won an award, she is given a month's leave. What to do? She knows nothing except going to work. She decides to visit her friends, one at a time.  Never having a guest over herself, May learns the social graces of visiting by reading her copy of Emily Post, and she manages quite well, but not without some angst on her part. 

There were parts of the story that those of us who are introverted could relate to, but the author carried May's life to an extreme, which is probably the point of the story.
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This book is a beautiful and honest look into friendship and life. I would highly recommend for a book club and following discussion.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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Quiet buy enjoyable.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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RULES FOR VISITING by Jessica Francis Kane starts slowly as readers meet May Attaway, a woman who has just turned forty and works as a gardener at the local university.  She lives with her father and names her possessions – Grendel for the suitcase, Bonnie for the car, for example. May muses frequently about others and the qualities of neighbors and friends, saying, "there are ironies everywhere [that] the world does not allow you to talk about even half as much as you'd like." Generally happy with her life in the outdoors, she has to decide how to use a month's leave and chooses to visit four friends because, as she says, "I was interested in figuring out who I was with other people and why that person was hard to be." The ensuing adventures include many lists of wry observations and references to literature, culminating in May's own numbered list of rules for visiting: "Do not arrive telling stories about the difficulty of the trip; always bring a gift . . . and send a thank-you."  RULES FOR VISITING received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Select this title if you are in the mood for a gentle, contemplative read featuring a quirky heroine.
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I wanted to read Rules for Visiting after Jessica Francis Kane provided Match Commentary for this year's Tournament of Books, and I'm so glad I discovered her. Rules for Visiting is about prickly but kind May Attaway, a university gardener/botanist who doesn't easily connect with people. She is awarded extra vacation time at work and decides to visit friends she hasn't seen in a while. I loved May's voice - she is more comfortable around trees than people, and does things like refer to Emily Post's etiquette book to make sure she will be a good guest. I also really liked her friends, who are all juggling their own messy lives. This book was beautifully written. I read it slowly but thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Aw dang, I got approved really close to the publication date and I wasn't able to finish this before it was archived. I really enjoyed what I read, though!
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

May is a gardener at a university.   Her life is small, and she has let friendships fall away.  She decides to revive her attachments and travels to meet her four closest friends one by one.  Each friend offers insight into May's quirky character. 

I loved the book and the hopeful ending.
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I love the introspection of this title.  It's not often we have the opportunity to take our personal "Odyssey" even if we feel the need to do so.  Living vicariously through May's adventures, emotions, and discoveries was enlightening.  I would love to read this with my book club as our discussions would be phenomenal.
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This novel is an enjoyable exploration of women's friendship, with the added bonus of correlations with The Odyssey and tree horticulture.  May is the 40ish main character who continues to live in her childhood home with her elderly father while she works as a landscaper for the local university.  Feeling somewhat isolated and questioning her friend relationships, which are far-flung, she takes advantage of some unexpected time off to visit the four women she has felt closest to.  Not surprisingly, along the way she reinforces her relationships and gains new understanding of her importance to the people in her life.  The writer's style is engaging, the pace is quick, and this feels like a smart treatment of women's friendships.
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What a wonderful book! I enjoyed this so much I didn't want it to end, and basically devoured it in two long sittings, which was a surprise, because this is really not a plot-driven book, and the characters are not deeply developed, but it absolutely didn't matter!  The main character in this book decides, for a variety of reasons, that she will use some unexpected time off from her job as a university groundskeeper/botanist to visit a few old friends. She does so very deliberately, to strengthen and reinforce bonds that she's neglected. She visits two childhood friends, a college friend, and a friend from her landscape architect graduate program. Jessica Frances Kane is a great writer, and I loved her observations about life, mental health, and friendship. This would be a wonderful recommendation for a book group, particularly a multigenerational one -- people at any and all stages of adulthood will find something to discuss.
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This was a fun book to read. The protagonist, a gardener, decides to visit four old friends.  Everyone is on-line, but on one really connects. Thus, her journey. Along the way, she cites various rules for visiting. They may seem quaint these days, but they still hold true. Best of all, she explores friendships where real friends know all your stories.
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