Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 438
Bailey's Cafe is the story of a cafe that doesn't exist in any one place and the people who go there to look for healing.
Bailey's Cafe can be found by stopping by Gabe's pawnshop. Once a person reaches Bailey's, they have the opportunity to find Eve's boarding house if they ask the right questions. Naylor explains that "Curfew starts midnight at Eve’s: no more visitors or music, and her boarders can’t have hard liquor at any time." Women there sometimes sell themselves as part of their recovery. Eve uses flowers to help heal women emotionally.
Bailey's isn't a place with a fixed location. Naylor describes it in such a way that shows that it isn't just a normal cafe. She writes,
There is nothing in back of this cafe. Since the place sits right on the margin between the edge of the world and infinite possibility, the back door opens out to a void. It takes courage to turn the knob and heart to leave the steps.
One of the characters in the story, Mary, is so beautiful that her looks had negative effects on her for her entire life. Naylor writes, "His daughter is more than pretty. She’s one of those women you see and don’t believe. The kind that live just outside the limits of your imagination." Mary ends up scarring herself because of how her beauty makes people treat her.
When Mary's father comes looking for her, Eve intervenes and refuses to let him see her. Eve says, "Leave your daughter here . . . I’ll return her to you whole." That's what she tries to do for women. Eve offers healing and tries to help them come to terms with their pasts and have happier futures.
Another quote from Bailey's Cafe focuses on the nature of life and healing. Naylor writes, "But I don't believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or to make you feel miserable either. Life is just supposed to make you feel." The characters are learning to work through past traumas to reach a point where they can feel whole within themselves.
One of the women who ends up at Eve's is Mariam who is pregnant despite never having had sex. When she gives birth, Naylor writes, "I looked over there and there were tears streaming down Gabe's wrinkled face: God bless you, Eve. And finally only the muted glow of a cool aquamarine. Then we heard the baby's first thin cry—and the place went wild." It is a major event for everyone in the book, and it brings them joy and connection.
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