I'm always up for a good read about someone jumping into the deep end of a big pond and not knowing what they'll find. Here, Carpenter and her partner...moreI'm always up for a good read about someone jumping into the deep end of a big pond and not knowing what they'll find. Here, Carpenter and her partner, Bill, are living in Oakland, California. They decide to squat on a vacant lot near their apartment and plant a garden. Then raise chickens. Then bees. Then bunnies and pigs. You get the idea (or maybe you don't? it is kind of odd, no?). But, I enjoyed her journey and learning through her trials and tribulations. Also some very interesting history on urban farming.
That said, I'm a rule follower and I hated the idea that she was squatting. Then, after acquiring the chickens - and then the pigs, she'd dumpster-dive for food for the animals. Granted - it would go to waste if she hadn't taken it to feed them, but ASK for heaven's sake. Eventually this happens, and she learns to make sausage and charcuterie from one of the local chefs for when she butchers her pig, but STILL. It made me feel vaguely unhappy that she was breaking laws.
And here's the other thing. Like I said, there's the part of me that enjoys people diving into the unknown (and especially going all Ma Ingalls to get back to their roots). BUT the self-deprecating "we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into with getting two pigs so we could have bacon" thing got really old - especially after following that same journey with Carpenter with the chickens, bees and bunnies. You had to know that raising pigs - and the ultimate slaughter - was going to be HUGE so why not prepare? Just a little?
Her experiment of just eating what she cultivated for a month was a bit tedious, as well (but without the condescension of others I've read). And I did like that she wasn't too preachy. The protestation that she was NOT a hippie, though, seemed more wishful thinking than anything else to this hobby gardener who can barely keep her basil alive.
Interesting if you are into this kind of adventure through farming. (less)
**spoiler alert** 3.5 stars for plot and 4.5 for the writing, so I will go with a 4. Really enjoyed the first half of this novel so, so much. What a c...more**spoiler alert** 3.5 stars for plot and 4.5 for the writing, so I will go with a 4. Really enjoyed the first half of this novel so, so much. What a compelling storyline - not necessarily new, but innovative in the way that Coplin wrote it. Some really beautiful scenes and landscapes of Central Washington. Loved getting to know her characters and trying to understand their motivations. She had me hooked.
And then came the second part of the novel, with Della following Michaelson and Talmadge following her, and the bottom just fell out for me. The caper with the escape in the boat seemed out in left field, and I found myself caring less and less what was going to happen in the end. Definitely glad I finished it, and appreciate the book more after discussing it with my book club, but I'm a reluctant 4 stars since I really needed a more coherent plot from what started as a really earnest, lovely and engaging read.
Most in our group loved this book, though, so definitely check it out - I'm in the minority.(less)
Tabloid ridiculousness. Lots of drive-by reporting here without any substance. Hillary is the only one that comes out looking decent, although bitter....moreTabloid ridiculousness. Lots of drive-by reporting here without any substance. Hillary is the only one that comes out looking decent, although bitter. Was hoping for something more political (and definitely something more worthwhile and interesting). I could've picked up STAR magazine and learned about as much as I did here. Not recommended.(less)
This was a good engaging beach read - was hoping for a little more mystery and a little less descriptive lamenting from our heroine, but nonetheless,...moreThis was a good engaging beach read - was hoping for a little more mystery and a little less descriptive lamenting from our heroine, but nonetheless, there were some twists and turns that were interesting (and creepy). The characters were really well written (although I kept envisioning Christopher Plummer ala Cpt. von Trapp as Maxim and the wicked stepmother from Cinderella as Mrs. Danvers) so my own imagination was rather distracting at times.
Rather frustrated by the ending, but would be interesting to discuss with a group. Recommended.(less)