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It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life
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It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  208 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Millions of people dream of chucking the city routine and leading the simple country life. Jim Mullen was not one of those people. Even a short weekend in the Hamptons was enough to give him the shakes. He just didn't understand the whole culture of weekend houses. "Why don't they take the money they're going to spend on a second house and buy a better first one? One they ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 9th 2001 by Simon & Schuster (first published November 1st 1992)
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Jun 14, 2015 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute, witty book about what you take for granted living in NYC--this cuts both ways; the things you take for granted being modern, easily-accessible, and of good quality and the things you take for granted being exorbitantly expensive, insanely inconvenient, and degraded beyond any possibility of enjoyment by overpopulation.

It was a timely read, as I am currently in the midst of figuring out my next move and trying to find a place of balance in which to make a home. Neither of the pl
Beth Nieman
May 19, 2015 Beth Nieman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Author Jim Mullen's book, "It Takes a Village Idiot," is the hilarious re-telling of his adventures with his wife in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Mullen, a city-dweller who loves the night life, the arts, and the fine restaurants which are so easily accessed from his conveniently-located (but tiny) Manhattan apartment, is smug when he visits friends who own a weekend house; nothing, nothing could induce him to leave the excitement and sophistication of the city for a rotting rural ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began this book strictly for the humor and I did enjoy the self-depricating humor of the author, but about half-way through I realized there was much more to this story. The author lives in NYC, born and raised there and loves it, can't imagine why anyone would live anywhere else. His wife buys a home in upstate NY, in the country, which the author has nothing but distain for, but slowly he learns to enjoy both communities for what they have to offer, but many laughs along the way.

We all live
Feb 07, 2012 Mormonhermitmom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up in a thrift store - yes I was desperate for a cheap read. This is what happens when your local library is only open for four hours a day after school hours and if there is a school holiday it's closed PERIOD.

Actually though, it turned out to be one of my better 'cold' picks. I busted a gut, or nearly, I mean I really tried not to because when you are reading late at night in bed with a headlamp because your spouse has to get up at 0' dark thirty in the morning, you really ca
Kathy Tracey
Aug 20, 2011 Kathy Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say, this is the book I wish I wrote. A city person moves into a quite, small community and spends time comparing life between the two. While there are some extreme exaggerations, overall there were many laugh out loud moments. Quote from page 178: The guests expect dinner to be on the table. Instead of people asking for the recipe, Sue will hear things like, "I've never had lasagna before," and "I've always heard you could eat asparagus but I never knew anyone who actually did" A gre ...more
May 03, 2011 Rebekkila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been looking for this book for years and finally bought it through amazon. The back story is a New York couple buy a weekend house in the Castskills. The story was funny and I completely knew where he was coming from a lot of the time. Everybody knows everyone up there so the newspaper finding out your business is a complete nightmare - stories about who passed a bad check and where it happened. One restaurant in the whole town where if it isn't meat, it's fried. Waving at everyone you pa ...more
Raymond Rockwell
Mar 15, 2016 Raymond Rockwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's "The Egg and I"--or, for the younger, "Green Acres"--with a sharper, wittier
edge: Metropolitan career couple take up weekends in the Catskills and start to
lose their Flatland identities...she first, gardening and canning; he last, kicking and screaming. Made me laugh out loud.
Jul 22, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Now this is humor. Such a delightfully funny book, I laughed out loud at times. It's not just funny sometimes; it's funny in almost every paragraph. Jim Mullen is a very fine writer. He and his wife live in Manhattan. She buys an old house 3 hours away in the Catskills and drags Jim there on weekends, which become longer and more frequent stays. This is Jim's hilarious conversion from total immersion in city life to country life, kicking and screaming all the way. The people of Walleye, the coun ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancie De Ross
Apr 22, 2015 Nancie De Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my top 5 favorite books I have ever read. Could not put it down. Have bought copies to give to people. No other book have I bought to share!
Dec 16, 2015 Suzan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hilarious book that had me laughing out loud and missing NYC tremendously! As a transplant from NYC to "the country" myself it made me realize not only what I miss about NYC but also what I love about living in the country. So funny even my non reading husband has decided to read it, certainly not only a miracle but a stunning recommendation! Easy to read as it's well written and divided into short chunks.
Feb 11, 2016 Gloria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lcc-book-club
Didn't care for it. He didn't speak to me, although I appreciated him more after the discussion with my book club.
May 16, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an enjoyable read that I laughed through.
Apr 26, 2015 Jyothi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i want to read this book.
Catherine Mullaney
Just Read it!
May 22, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author started out as such a self-satisfied big city snob, I was prepared to hate him and his anti upstate NY attitude. He turned out to be changeable, hysterically funny, and a writer worth reading. His sharp humor, though I enjoyed it from a distance, has to be embarrassing for his wife. She might be a saint. I think anyone would enjoy this funny memoir of a couple that begins weekending in the country after living for years in New York City.
Holden Robinson
Sep 12, 2012 Holden Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have lived a few short miles from a manure pond, so Jim's book is right up my alley. I thought it was terrific, characters well fleshed out, and I could picture each, so like people I've met during my stay in upstate New York. I'd have loved it to be a bit more wacky in the humor department, but I'm a wacky humor fan. Overall, terrific read! Daily I looked forward to coming home, curling up, and seeing what Jim and Sue were up to next.
Feb 26, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: animal lovers, contry folks
Shelves: horses-country
Despite being 5 years later, still one of my FAVORITE top-5 books of all time. I have read countless country memories, vet books (i.e. James Harriot), farm stories, etc.; but this one still remains my favorite. Why? Because the stories are witty, original, and realistic. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys animals or the outdoors as much as I do.
Jul 14, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
What happens when a couple, entrenched in the Manhattan lifestyle, chuck it all to buy a farm in the Catskills? At first, the author came across as arrogant and insufferable, but as the book went on his opinion, as well as mine, changed. I especially appreciated that the name of the actual town and residents were kept private. A witty, enjoyable read.
Oct 01, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well it was funny but not nearly to what the reviews were for his book. Maye it was because I built up this high expectation after reading some reviews. I did find myself relating to some of the stories in the book or could see myself in the same situation. I guess in a way I related a lot to the main character.
Nov 04, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It's been some time since I read it, and I would definitely read it again. As someone who has lived both in the city and in the middle of the country, I could completely relate! There were portions that were laugh out loud funny, especially if you've ever been in those same situations!
Nov 04, 2010 Deidre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too easy. Although it touches on the the us/them, cityfolk/flatlanders vs. farmer's/upstate dwellers dichotomy, it was a lil heavy on the snark and lacking in rich detail. Paints a pretty watercolor of the simple life, but I guess I should have expected less from a entertainment weekly author.
Feb 19, 2008 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for a good, humorous read.
Shelves: nonfiction
Jim Mullen used to write for Entertainment Weekly. This book tracks his (and his wife's) exit from city life as they move to rural New York state and begin a new life in an old farm house. Mullen's book is funny and his observations on the absurdities of modern life are spot on.
Jan 13, 2008 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Another of my comfort food books. This is my go-to book I almost always end up reading after I've exhausted a series and am so disappointed it's over. I can always count on this book. It's like I know enough to not start searching for the next great series, take a break, read this!
Apr 16, 2010 Christine rated it really liked it
I had so much fun reading this, since I grew up in "Walleye". It is hysterical looking at my rural town through a city dweller's eyes (although it has changed a lot since then). I can't believe I never heard the term "flatlander" though!
May 28, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book!! Some of my family live in the"Walleye" area and everything he says is so very true! I couldn't stop laughing throughout the entire book! Definately one of my favorite books of all time!
Apr 20, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The International Harvester Child Impaler and the Ford Dethumber* - I loved this book.

(*Not sure if I have those right, but each time I see farm equipment, I think of these models.)
Dec 28, 2012 Awwwtrouble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good. Fast read. I was amazed at how dated it was - written pre-9/11. Would actually be interested to read a sequel, to learn how much it's changed in the past ten years.
May 01, 2013 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you haven't read this , and love all things hilarious and sarcastic, run and buy this book. It is a quick read, but by far one of the funniest books I've read.
Jan 17, 2013 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable and quick tale of "flatlanders" in the country that read like an extended humorous magazine article. Well written and fun to read.
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