A hunt for both literal and metaphorical treasures, Sandra A. Miller’s memoir Trove is a personal search to answer a lifetime’s worth of deep and difficult questions.
Since she was a child, Miller’s eyes have always searched the ground for seemingly unimportant items left behind by others. She’s saved, cataloged, and collected them. Through these treasures, she relives her memories and engages in flashbacks, working toward a healthier place of understanding. She comes to relate in an intrinsic way to a crow that once visited her window, also sharp-eyed and always searching; the text draws excellent parallels between Miller’s hunt and the curious nature of the bird.
After Miller’s father passes and as her mother deteriorates, she finds herself navigating the emotions surrounding the absence of love and connection in her childhood home. She uses a literal treasure hunt as a means to search for the hard truths about her family relationships, working through those past traumas while trying to be the best mother she can be, as well as an open and honest wife.
There’s no manufactured suspense or extreme climax here. Miller’s small disagreements with her husband are extinguished with speed, as if to protect those intimacies, and the text only scratches the surface of addressing the impact her childhood has on her current connections. The relationships with her parents are delved into much more, perhaps because their subjects are no longer around.
Entertaining and intriguing, Trove reads like a guide and map for navigating our own traumas. It’s all about addressing emotional wounds and childhood scars, so there is no neat ending. Instead, Miller’s search is a reminder that we should never stop searching for the answers that may set us free.
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