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First Person Rural

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Imagine a large family gathering. There are a couple of cousins who have never met before, a teacher from New York and a lifetime Vermonter. Over yonder are four bearded brothers talking to Uncle Philip, who sells life insurance. Sitting in the corner is Aunt Sarah who, raises hens.

This book is a bit like such a gathering. The essays in it, all concerned with countryish th
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1978)
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Jan 07, 2009 Steven rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good writing. Anyone who likes gardening.
Shelves: own
Some of these essays (and some from the sequels) I have read perhaps 20 times or more. Wonderful writing!
Bird Berdnick
Great reminder of pleasure from the simpler things in life.
Dec 02, 2012 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: farm dreamers
Recommended to Jessica by: bought at bookstore in Stroudsburg, PA
The subtitle of this book is "Essays of a Sometime Farmer" but it seems to me that Perrin has done enough work to call himself a full-time farmer.

Perrin's writing is somewhat inconsistent but the essays are overall enjoyable. Particularly the aspects of maple sugaring and his "recipe" for making maple candy worked like a charm.

Perrin talks a bit of prices and pricing in these essays and while they are obviously outdated, most of the thoughts are not - the final essay (basically city vs. countr
The late Noel Perrin could really show up these Brooklyn hipster-farmers raising chickens behind their brownstones. Writing over 30 years ago, Perrin promotes the natural food movement, expressing concern for industrial meat and dairy production, as well as the rising marketing and consumption of processed foods.

However, this isn't supposed to be a preachy guilt trip about wasteful modern city living. Instead, this is a wonderful collection of essays about a New Yorker experiencing life as a fa
Perrin's collection of essays discuss life in Vermont from the perspective of someone who used to live in New York City. While the essays were at times fun to read and highlight how much Vermont has changed and silmultaneously stayed the same, they were a bit dated (I think this was first published in 1978?). Chris Bohjalian (he used to live in Brooklyn before he moved to VT) has published a collection of weekly newspaper columns that he writes for the Burlingotn Free Press. Titled Idyll Banter, ...more
The author has a sense of humor as he tells of his own failures and hard times, plus remarks on what various animals "say" in languages across the world. I especially liked the chapter about maple syrup, because our family had just been doing something very similar with our own syrup production. Some articles are mostly just informative, such as how to buy a good chainsaw or pick-up truck--I read them more from duty than pleasure, though no doubt most men would find them interesting. There were ...more
Great fun. I agree with the other 4 and 5-star reviews.
A thoroughly charming collection of essays about living in the country and being a "part-time farmer." I giggled and smiled from the first page to the last. A little dated now, (it was written in the 1970s), the talk of high gas prices is even more "charming" now as we face a second energy crisis and skyrocketing prices. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that 30 years ago, people though it was the end of everything, and they got through it. It gives hope for our own future.
David R. Godine
"A cross between Scott Nearing and E.B. White, with a little James Harriot thrown in."
Chicago Sun-Times

"You have to admire how Perrin lets the language break down into little fragments, hard stones left by a receding glacier. It isn't easy to talk about the soul, and New Englanders have as hard a time as anyone. Perrin's writing mirrors that difficulty, that ingrained reticence."
— Alex Hanson, The Valley News
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlie Shields
What a wonderful little book.
First in a series of essays on life in Rural New England by a Dartmouth writing professer and "sometime farmer."

Essays include how-tos for making butter, maple sugar, purchasing a pickup truck and a chainsaw.
Interesting insights on human nature, the environment, small farming vs big agribusiness, gentrification.
A stitch in time saves nine. Quality is the running theme of this book.
Here is some typical advice from the author. Shoot the lamb in the head and immediately afterwards cut its throat. The artery is what you're after. If this sounds brutal, horrible and ghoulish don't even consider trying it.
Katherine Willis Pershey
Great book. I liked some essays more than others (I won't be buying a chainsaw or a truck anytime soon, so the "how-to" chapters weren't so interesting), but overall, this is a fantastic book. Anyone who liked Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, etc., would enjoy.
A calm read. A lot of information on fencing in acreage and maple syruping. Some insights on raising livestock. Amusing and Perrin is a good writer, but as a collection of essays from the same time period, the book is sometimes repetitive.
Such a pleasure to read. Essays by a former New Yorker who moved to Vermont. I enjoyed the quiet humor and the comfortable ease with which Perrin educates the reader about country living. Also, I learned quite a bit about maple sugar.
I enjoyed the chapter about making maple candy and drinking raw milk, but the rest of them were pretty slow. Ultimately, I only think I finished it because it so short and it seemed like a shame not to.
Going the audiobook route this time. Great for listening as we work up the day's garden produce.

Sometimes dated, often New England-centric but generally timeless country life stories.
If you want to learn a bit about maple syrup, the essays on that topic are pretty interesting. Otherwise, skip this book--I didn't find it particularly interesting.
Learning about the kinds of maple syrup was interesting. The essays got kind of negative toward the end of the book.
I'm not sorry I read this book, but one is enough.
Gary Turner
I just loved this book. If one dares to become a true 'independent yankee', this is a must read. Maybe i am a sucker for frugality, but reading this book was so fun.
Judy Gacek
Essays by a New Yorker moved to Vermont. Also have read Second Person Rural and Third Person Rural. The author was married two Anne Morrow Lindberg's daughter.
I enjoyed some of the essays but others just made the author seem like a preachy, pretentious ass.
Nedra Sproul
W written but not subject that I could relate to, even in a broade perspective.
Jul 18, 2012 Risa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
First Person Rural: Essays of a Sometime Farmer by Noel Perrin (1978)
I enjoyed his country reflections and seek out these sorts of books.
Liked the part about maple syrup the best.
Vermonter's should read this!
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