Sunday, April 10, 2011

Home to Woefield - Susan Juby

Title: Home to Woefield
Author: Susan Juby
Paperback: 306 pages
Publication date: March 2011
FTC: received from Book Club Girl for Blog Talk Radio participation

If you've never checked out Book Club Girl's website, you should definitely head on over there.  The ladies at Harper Collins are awesome and this site is packed with great book titles, fun contests and I love participating in the author chats online at Blog Talk Radio.  I entered to win Home to Woefield so I could participate in the show and it was so much fun.  The book is adorable.

Here's the synopsis from the book:

Prudence Burns, a well-intentioned New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, just inherited Woefield Farm—thirty acres of scrubland, dilapidated buildings, and one half-sheared sheep. But the bank is about to foreclose, so Prudence must turn things around fast! Fortunately she'll have help from Earl, her banjo-playing foreman with a family secret; Seth, the neighbor who hasn't left the house since a high school scandal; and Sara Spratt, an eleven-year-old who's looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens.
Home to Woefield is about learning how to take on a challenge, face your fears, and find friendship in the most unlikely of places.

I adored the idea of taking a New Yorker, one who is all into the green movement and even worm composts in her tiny Brooklyn apartment, and moves her to a Canadian island when she inherits a family farm. I mean, I can totally relate to Prudence. My husband and I just made a compost bin, are planning our garden for next year (yes in Vegas, I get the irony), and are saving our yogurt cups for plant starters.

Anyway, if you are expecting this book to be one of those predictable tales where New York girl moves to country and ends up making a successful go at farming...well it's not this book.  Things go wrong and it is hilarious. From the old farmhand Earl who is not good at farming or fixing things, to the hired help, Seth, who knows as much farming as you'd expect a celebrity blogger to know. 

I love thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is written in such an engaging way. During the radio show, Susan Juby describes it as rapidly alternating first person narratives which means that we hear from four different characters throughout the book: Prudence, Seth, Sara, and Earl.  Each narration is just a few pages long which is enough to flesh out events in the book through different perspectives.  Seth and Sara are by far my favorite characters.  Seth is a shut-in recluse in his mom's house who devotes his time to celebrity and heavy metal blogging.  Sara's home life is a mess because her father lost a job so she devotes her attention to raising and showing chickens.  These characters were so real.  I have to warn you though that Seth and Earl do tend to cuss a lot.  However, it's not excessive and it totally fits in with their character.  Even though sometimes I wanted to slap Prudence, I ended up really caring about her character.  She is an incredibly industrious character but you could see her character growing as she realizes that turning a run down farm around isn't as easy as she thought it would be.  There were so many times this book had me just laughing out loud.  For instance, my favorite side side character is Bertie, the farm's one lone sheep.  The problems they have with taking care of Bertie and trying to sheer her are just hilarious.

My only problem with the book is that it ended all too soon.  I'm not done with these characters.  I want to know what happens next.  I was so excited to hear that Susan Juby, during her interview on blog talk radio, isn't done with these characters either.  Hopefully she'll be coming out with a follow up book soon.

Which reminds me...Home to Woefield was originally published in Canada under the title The Woefield Poultry Collective.  This is the cover:

I adore the American cover and title and am really not found of the original.  What do you think?

Also Reviewed by:

Chris Bookarama
Book Club Classics
Booking Mama
Leafing Through Life

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