THE ANGELS’ SHARE by Rayme Waters
We first meet Cinnamon Monday near death, collapsed in the loamy earth of a vineyard somewhere in Sonoma County, California, savagely beaten by her meth-addicted boyfriend. Her story, told in first person, involves us immediately in her survival. We then come to know her more intimately through an intricate weaving of time periods in her life, in alternating chapters of childhood memories of neglect with present time recovery from her own drug addiction and abuse.
While reading, I began to wonder if Waters was as influenced by British classic literature, fairy tales, and myths as much as her main character, Cinnamon, was. The book’s plot structure shows the careful arrangement of pieces coming together in full circle, in a most Dickensian manner. The unexpected rise and fall of fortune in social classes high and low reveal a universal quality of plot that sometimes elevate the book to mythic levels and depict the archetype of the heroine’s journey, from Cinderella to Persephone.
Certainly the book is about more than drug recovery or survival of the dysfunctional counter culture in Northern California, though its social context is realistic and heartbreakingly accurate. It is a book about finding one’s way back to innocence, to wholeness, and rebirth. In this the heroine is guided in her journey by imagination that transcends and informs her reality–her muse—by the raw elements of nature that sustain her, and by her heartfelt desire to connect with others and be loved.
What is most interesting to me is that the love Cinnamon so desires is not necessarily a romantic love, but one of deep and abiding friendship that includes both male and female friends. In this, I discovered a retelling of the ancient resolution of feminine quest—and a more wholesome one. This ending is soul satisfying and cathartic. An inspired read for our times!
Rayme Waters is a member of San Francisco Chapter, WNBA, and will be reading at the Sonoma County Book Festival on September 21, 2013, from THE ANGELS’ SHARE. Click here for more information.