When I first heard of the story that inspired this novel, I was impressed. Terry Tempest Williams' mother died of cancer and left her diaries to Williams only to be read after she died. When Williams opened the diaries, she found her mother's years of blank notebooks. The blankness of the notebooks and the feeling of mystery surrounding the lack of writing on the notebooks. I picked up the book, and it was even more fascinating than I'd expected.Williams' mother was fifty-four when she died, thus the fifty-four variations on voice. Each variation spans a range of style and topic, from Williams' mother's death to the time Williams spent in field camps and meeting her husband in a bookstore (they bonded over bird field guides). They are expressions of Williams' grief and confusion over her mother's death and notebooks, celebrations of the time they spend together, and reflections of womanhood and life. Williams discusses her identity as a Mormon, as well as her mother's, in terms of what the expectations and beliefs are surrounding womanhood, life, and what the responsibilities of a woman's legacy should be. Williams' prose reflects on the blank pages of the journals as a form of expression in and of itself as well as the legacy of cancer in Williams' family as a result of their living in Utah as downwinders. The family legacies, literary, religiously, and medically, form a fascinating set of short essays and reflections. A moving and fascinating look to modern expectations of women, identity, and reflection inspired by a set of blank notebooks.