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Of Metal and Earth

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  20 reviews
James survives the Vietnam War by hiding beneath a little green Jeep, watching his friends die on the battlefield. He returns home emotionally paralyzed with nothing to fight for and turns to the only salvation he knows, buying a little green Jeep of his own. When he gets a flat tire on the road out of town, he is forced to ask the elderly owner of a nearby farm for help. ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published July 19th 2018 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Sunyi Dean
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read this during a beta swap, and was wowed by the novel! (I did not receive any compensation for this read, and believe me, I don't enjoy every beta swap nearly this much.)

I don't read a lot of litfic anymore but this was a gorgeous, heartfelt novel with a really unusual structure. Maybe I should get back into the genre! The writing is stunning, too, and that always matters to me (as a reader).

Trying to avoid spoilers so--the story follows a chain of people as James' Jeep
P. K.  Torrens
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get to beta-read this book.

It's an awesome story with a twist that makes you curse at the brilliance of it.

Also, it will make you want to drink bourbon.

Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is about the history of a jeep, a notebook follows all the owners for years.....all the owners have their own stories
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel begins in 1964 when James is returning to his small hometown from Vietnam. Broken and guilt-ridden of being the only one of his friends that made it back from the war, James attempts to rebuild his life and eventually buys a little green Jeep. This Jeep serves as a sign of hope and starting over and is loved and cared for by James for many years until, unfortunately, circumstances require that he sell it. Over the years James has to learn to work on and take care of his Jeep and start ...more
Al Hess
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-indie
Of Metal and Earth manages to be artfully written, contemporary and literary, without becoming pompous or looking down upon the reader. The writing is straightforward and easy to read, allowing you to fall into the characters and story, and before you realize it, it'll have its hooks in you. The characters are the most important element of any story, for me, and the slices of life that Lane chooses to show--when a little green Jeep intersects their life--illustrates each character beautifully. T ...more
Scott  D Groff
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard for me to read. The story of James and Clare was especially painful. I recommend this book to any man who cannot deal with his inner feelings, or even know what they are. This doesn't mean women won't like it or find value in it. Quite the contrary. Beautifully written. And the contrast between city and rural living is eloquently done. For me, this is a book that will go into my "Keepers" collection.
Rebecca Raney
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you’ve ever loved a car – or if you’ve ever driven a car whose battered condition was an allegory for your life – you’ll find something to love in this book. What I loved most is something we rarely see in contemporary literature: A glimpse into the unglamorous but full lives of people who live along the state highways of small-town America.

I loved this book for the smell of oil and old tires. The standard story of a young man yearning to move into white-collar America – juxtaposed with a sto
Tony Parsons
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
1964, 4 friends: James, Andrew, Norman, & David had volunteered to go to Quế Sơn Valley, Vietnam.
Elk River. James (Vietnam War vet) was the only 1 who came back.
Tom (bar owner), & Lily (wife) offered James a place to stay, until he got back on his feet.
1967, Tom had his own apartment & a CJ-5 Jeep.
Dr. Claire (granddaughter, vet) moved to Elk River, took over the farm & opened up her own vet clinic.

James helped her get things done/organized.
It wasn’t long & they became an item & later got mar
Christine Antosca
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lane chose the perfect title for this novel. Metal and Earth referred to the jeep, the one constant factor in this novel. Along with the title, Lane’s cover of a jeep in the middle of nowhere gives the reader the insight of what to expect. Seeing a jeep on the cover gave me an image to picture of what the jeep looked like.

Lane’s plot to have the story start with a soldier coming home from the Vietnam War was compelling. We could really see inside his head all that he was going through from what
Lisa De Castro
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Of Metal and Earth by Jennifer M. Lane is the story of a Jeep through which people's lives, and stories, become connected. Each transfer of title is a transition into a new set of characters, and their personal experiences. A notebook accompanies the Jeep as it travels from owner to owner. In it, a collection of memories is documented and added to. Each of the stories present relationships that need fixing, much like the Jeep itself does. The various owners come together because of the Jeep, and ...more
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story, like the main character, the jeep, meanders through numerous owners and circumstances, helping each owner along the way, until it makes its way home.

After returning from Vietnam, a man buys a Jeep, which breaks down in front of a farm. That luck turns his life around, and as the Jeep and it’s binder of repairs and relationships travel from person to person, love abounds.

The writing is paced in such a way that it reflects the eras the Jeep passes through, from the 70’s to the 2000s.
Dawn Hosmer
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written book filled with stories of love, life, grief, healing and restoration. I am generally a fast reader. I found myself wanting to read this book slower just to savor the words. Jennifer Lane does a superb job of bringing the characters to life and making the reader feel what life is like in their shoes. I would suggest this book for anyone who is a fan of the TV show "This is Us"...reminded me so much of it. Masterful storytelling that made me want to buy an old car and ...more
Karla Gibson
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knowing I had little in reserve, waiting for one of my go to authors to release a book I went for a mooch around what was available on KindleUnlimited, this one caught my eye.
Very enjoyable read about the lives that one touched, even altered by a little jeep. Half way through I knew how I wanted it to end, whether I got my wish, that the jeep would return "home" that's up to you to find out yourself.
Phyllis Swenson
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness!. Just finished, and this is now my new favorite book.. I'm crying like a baby!. I started it then got distracted by work and finally (as a Christmas gift to myself) I took some time to finish it's. I was also suprised how easy it was to pick back up after having put it down for 3 months.

Anyway, wonderful story!
Patrick Connolly
Delightful read! Well formed characters across a forty five year span. The relationships are really where this book shines. Lane has rendered them imperfect and shaggy, anxious and human, and they’re all linked together by a little Jeep, a shaggy, imperfect and lovable character itself. Definitely recommend.
Marianne Sciucco
Great story!

Well written, unique story. I’m a Jeep owner times three so understand completely the allure. The characters are well rounded, and the scenes and setting drew me in. Looking for more from this author.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I had trouble putting it down. I would go to bed each night and intend to read a few pages, as I normally do, and put it down when I became drowsy. I ended up reading 50-70 pages each night. The general theme of the book, following a car through its owners, is a great idea and is poignant for "car people.” For those of us who have used our car as an escape, gone on drives as a refuge, bonded and made friends of other "car people" this was a touching read. The descriptive writing is i ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pick it up, you won't be disappointed!

Wonderful! I kept waiting to be done for the day so that I could start reading again. Love James a d how the story weaves the history and people together.
Ivor Philpott
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great lockdown read

Very believable storyline. Loved every moment.
Very good feel good factor to see us through a farther unhappy period of civic 19.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Very Good Read

I found this to be a very engaging story and also well written. I was hooked from the first pages to the last and enjoyed how the story came full circle.
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A Maryland native and Pennsylvanian at heart, Jennifer M. Lane holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Barton College and a master's in liberal arts with a focus on museum studies from the University of Delaware, where she wrote her thesis on the material culture of roadside memorials. She once co-hosted a daily automotive blog and served as the president of a large car club.

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