Elisabeth Tova Bailey is bedridden with a mysterious disease that has left her paralyzed, but she finds meaning in her life through observing a small woodland snail. The snail served as her entertainment, her connection to a world beyond her own suffering, and gave her hope and strength to carry on and wait for her health to improve. Being bedridden, she is cut-off from the world and lives like a "hermit" just like her snail.
Ms. Bailey does not complain about her illness, her time is better spent being curious about her snail and marvelling at how resilient it is. By watching so intently and being a studious pupil, Bailey tells us she wants to fight her illness but that wouldn't have been possible without her snail.
The latter part of the book read more like a textbook on snails and other mollusks, and I would have liked to hear more of Bailey's life and her thoughts about her illness.
There is one line in the book that I will quote here because I find it is so very, very true. "Illness isolates; the isolated become invisible; the invisible become forgotten."
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a wonderful story and not at all like your usual memoir. I think anyone who reads this will love it!!