Elizabeth Lee's Reviews > Homestead: Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility

Homestead by Jane Kirkpatrick
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's review
Oct 22, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: farming-homesteading, nonfiction, biographical, irritating
Read in November, 2008

while it's mostly well-written, it's a little jumpy and hard to follow chronologically. the author puts different events together in ways that probably make sense according to her own emotional connection to the circumstances, but this detracts from the natural flow of time for the reader.

early on, the author awkwardly inserts little statements that aren't exactly foreshadowing, but more like hints about several disasters that will soon befall her husband and herself. it seems like a cheap way to try to keep the reader interested, especially because it doesn't happen naturally.

the third aspect of the author's writing that does not impress me is the constant use of similes. they seem to be her crutch, and there are far too many of them. it seems like an effort to make her writing seem more poetic and meaningful, but i'm not falling for it.

i was not aware, somehow, that this was going to be some sort of christian inspirational book. i almost put the book down during the prologue because of the number of times the author used the word faith and then spoke about divine intervention. she continues, throughout the first part of the book, to inject a little evangelism every now and then, just when i thought i was about to enjoy myself. she seems to have a penchant for leaving the really big decisions in life up to god's will, and attributing any gut feeling she has about anything not to her own intuition, but to god telling her what to do. any time a situation gets a bit much for her, or there is a stumbling block to what she wants, she'd much rather pray to god to fix it for her, instead of pushing up her sleeves and taking care of it herself. this makes me think that not only is she a little too bible-thumping for my taste, she's also a little bit of a pansy.
this is further confirmed with her statement regarding the parcel of land she and her husband were looking to buy:

"I had secretly hoped they [the owners] wouldn't sell. It was such a very long way from my manicurist."

if that is sarcasm or some attempt at dry humor, it's the only example of it i've run across so far. any thought that she might have been joking disappeared when the author's friend told her that she had initially wanted to tell the author not to move out to the remote area they had chosen, because she couldn't imagine "...you with your fake nails out there in the sagebrush."

normally, i only enjoy a book if i feel a connection with or at least some sort of positive feelings for the protagonist or the narrator. there have been exceptions, but this really isn't one. the author does become more tolerable towards the end of the book, because her experiences on the homestead inevitably have their effect on her personality. she does eventually give up on having a manicure at all times. all in all, it wasn't a terrible book, but i won't be reading it again or recommending it to anyone.
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Reading Progress

10/27 page 78
10/28 page 125
33.42% "this book is about how to be completely unprepared for life and still get by through relying mainly on other people's skills and generosity."
10/30 page 168
44.92% "just finished part II, still unimpressed by the writing. the story is the saving grace, even if written amateurishly."
11/05 page 313
83.69% "This gets a little bit better toward the end, because the author seems to be evolving as a person from her experiences. Always a good thing"
04/11 marked as: read
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