Adele Stratton's Reviews > Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

Farm City by Novella Carpenter
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's review
Jul 21, 2014

it was ok
Read in May, 2010

(Audioversion) (Two and a half stars.) The story apparently sprang from her blog about how she moved to inner-city Oakland California and began growing her own food—moving quickly from fruits and vegetables, to bees, to meat-birds and rabbits, and finally to raising pigs—by squatting on a vacant inner-city lot, next to an apartment she rents. I had some mixed feelings about this one. The book is engaging, and there is a part of Carpenter that seems to have honorable intentions and a good heart. But there’s this other part of her that’s smug, an it’s-all-about-what-I-think-is-right side, she doesn’t really care much how the strong smells and sounds of her farm affect her neighbors, she mostly hopes they won’t complain because in her eyes she’s doing such good. She uses a lot of salty language in situations that don’t seem to call for it. She finally lets loose an unbelievably crude expletive about Sheila, the woman she hires to kill her pigs when she doesn't do it exactly how or when Carpenter wanted with her oh-so-special pigs. I’ve never heard a female use this term about another female, and putting it in writing where, ostensibly, there was time and consideration given to using it, seriously lowered my opinion of Carpenter. In my eyes she went from a well-intentioned new breed of loving earth mother (she rather affectionately calls herself “a freak”), to a sanctimonious, self-absorbed little twerp. (And that’s a heck of a lot nicer than what she called Sheila...)
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Robert I didn't know the book came from her blog. That explains a lot.

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