I admit that I don’t quite get the title but I do totally love Morayo. This is one of the books I chose for Read Harder 2018, task 23, a book with a female protagonist over the age of 60. I chose two books for it because they were both smaller books. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is only 117 pages. It’s a fun short read though.
It seems that most books have young protagonists, which I’m sure is why this task is even on the Read Harder list, but it’s not the first one I’ve read with an older woman in it and I do love the difference in the dynamic. Older protagonists have lots experience to draw from that shapes the way they look at the world. This is part of what made this story so great, even for being short. Morayo, as well as the others in this story, have such rich backgrounds that even small scenes have a lot more to it. The story takes place around Morayo’s birthday and looks back on her life at times but doesn’t dwell in the past.
It’s a great book for this challenge and anyone wanting something different from a character discovering themselves. I won’t say that Morayo doesn’t learn anything, but she already knows who she is and what she’s capable of. She’s lived much of her life, it’s just not over yet either, which is the other thing that I really enjoyed about it. Given the challenge, I feared only finding books where protagonists start off in over 60 but the story dwells on their younger years or where the protagonist is just dealing with their impending death or ill health. There’s none of that here. Morayo remembers her youth, her mistakes, her triumphs, but she’s living in the present and looking forward to the next day. She’s dealing with age but not victim to it just yet. It helps that her life was incredibly interesting too.
Note: there is a mention at the end of the book that the title comes from a poem by Mary Ruefle, titled Donkey On. I read it here and it’s an interesting poem but I’m still not entirely sure how it relates to the book itself other than calling Morayo stubborn in her old age.