a soul in type {book review}

The Map of Enough by Molly Caro May

Molly and her fiancé Chris suddenly move to 107 acres in Montana, land her family owns but rarely visits, with the idea of staying for only a year. Surrounded by tall grass, deep woods, and the presence of predators, the young couple starts the challenging and often messy process of building a traditional Mongolian yurt from scratch. They finally finish just on the cusp of winter, in a below-zero degree snowstorm. For Molly it is her first real home, yet a nomadic one, this one concession meant to be dissembled and moved at will.

Yurt-life gives her rare exposure to nature, to the elements, to the wildlife all around them. It also feels contrary to the modern world, and this triggers in Molly an exploration of what home means to the emergent generation. -from Goodreads

The Map of Enough is a soul in type. Its beautiful, flowing, earthy prose is almost poetic, and it's so relatable that I feel like Molly and I are the same person--like we've shared experiences. And in a sense, I suppose we have. Molly is just a step or two further down the trail. As I read the book, I felt her story--shared her thoughts and emotions--as if I'd climbed inside her skin to dwell there within the covers of the book.

Molly writes about the beauty of slowing down, of living within a round, canvas "membrane" instead of sound-muffling walls, of smelling the thawing water in the creek even before seeing that the blue ice has melted away. Her story is one of soul-searching, self-defining, and question-asking--discovering the right questions and letting go of the wrong ones. I wanted to devour and savor it all at once.

The writing style is something akin to stream-of-consciousness, easing from present to past and back again, seamlessly including internal thoughts and distant memories with the narrative. One potential stumbling block for readers is the lack of quotation marks for the sparse dialogue. Rather than annoying, however, I thought it made the text flow more like a memory, which is essentially what it is.

If I've made this sound like a complex, philosophical book, I apologize. It is not. It's a smooth, enjoyable read, and, boiled down, the story is quite common. In the process of defining herself, Molly discovered (among many other things) that she was far from the only person struggling with identity and purpose, and that we are not so different after all.

"But maybe all we really wanted, every last one of us, was to be loved."

This is the perfect book for curling up with on a cold day. It is full of humor, wisdom, and nature, and it's simply a good story! I highly recommend it.

5/5 leaves!


  1. Oh, that sounds like an excellent book! Those stories made for cold days are my favourite. Thanks for sharing this review - I'll keep my eye out for this book now. xx

    1. It's amazing! I hope you find a copy, and you enjoy it as much as I did!