I'm going to be honest.. when I signed up to review this book I wasn't sure if I'd even like it let alone be able to finish it.
And am I will tell you... I am so glad that I did because I really loved this book. This is going to go into the small list of books I recommend when people say "Sara- what should I read?" because I just enjoyed it that much.
Home to Woefield- Susan Juby
When twenty-four year old Prudence Burns inherits a farm from her uncle, she thinks all her back-to-the-land dreams will come true. Unfortunately, Woefield Farm turns out to be thirty acres of scrub grass, dotted with dilapidated buildings and inhabited by a lonely, half-sheared sheep named Bertie.
Prudence discovers that her total lack of experience and skills might be a problem, especially since the bank is about to foreclose on the property. Needing to turn things around fast, she enlists the help of Earl, a spry seventy-something, banjo-playing foreman with a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrity-blogging guy next door, who hasn't left his house since the scandal with his high school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a hyper-organized eleven year old looking for a home for her prize winning chickens. Together the four unlikely farmers tackle a series of impossible projects and create a most unusual family.
So.. you see how I was kind of just "meh" on it? What this book fails to mention is that it is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud so many times. The book alternates between different character's point of views and I felt that the author captured each of their personalities absolutely perfectly. It's a real skill to change how you write so it sounds like four completely different people. It almost feels like four different people were in charge of writing chapters and then have it all come together- the author is really that good. Here are a few excerpts I loved:
(from Seth): My aunt Elsie, a bigger lady, tried out a stick couch my Mom made and the thing collapsed and she nearly got a splinter in her no-no hole. She was drunk at the time, so she barely noticed, but I was well and truly traumatized. I can still remember her lying in a pile of sticks, giant white underpants showing because her caftan ended up around her waist. That image is seared into my brain.
(from Sara): I think Prudence is one of the busiest people who ever lived. Probably only God and Jesus and the devil are more busy than Prudence.
(from Seth): I'd never really seen a large-scale poultry operation before. Obviously, I'd read about those battery farms or whatever you call them where chickens have to live about 10 to a cage and get their beaks cut off and are massively depressed before they get shipped off to KFC to be turned into family packs and strips. But even that foreshadowing didn't prepare me for the epic filth and stench of a chicken show barn. I can't comprehend how bad an actual factory chicken farm would be. I mean, where none of the poor little bastards have been bathed recently, like all the birds here. These were the finest specimens the chicken world had to offer and they still reeked like a rancid pile of dead dogs on a hot day.
So those are just small snippets of a really fantastic book. I think Sara and Seth were my favorite characters because they were so drastically different but had a commonality in that their families were pretty screwed up. And I could picture little Sara, who joined a pretty cultish sounding church and became so focused on the Rapture and making sure she isn't "left behind" that is was almost kind of funny in a really sad sort of way.
And I have to say... Bertie the sheep?? Oh my god. The mental picture I had of this depressed and neglected sheep, half-sheered with maxi pads on it's feet. Oh Jesus. Seriously. I felt like if this were real I'd buy a "Save A Sheep" campaign shirt. It was just so funny and it really added even more humor to this very entertaining book.
So with that.. buy this book. It comes out this month and you will not be disappointed.
Feel free to check out the author's website or her blog. ALSO, Book Club Girl is going to interview Susan Juby on Blog Talk Radio on Tuesday, April 5th at 4:00pm PT (7:00pm ET). You'll be able to access that HERE.