Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: Moving to the Country

(Reclaimed from Blogjob. I didn't want to do this; it's a vote of no confidence in an e-friend in whom I wanted to have confidence, and it's also a boring chore...but advertisers can't go on using these posts as if they'd been paid for when they have not. Blogjob tags: 1970’sAnne Morrow Lindbergh’s daughter,Appalachian Mountains,back to the landCharles Lindbergh’s familygentle fictionGranola Green farmersReeve Lindbergh,topophiliatopophilic novel about Vermont.)

A Fair Trade Book
Title: Moving to the Country
Author: Reeve Lindbergh, under the name Reeve Lindbergh Brown
Date: 1983
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 0-385-12279-9
Length: 282 pages
Quote: “Nancy...might be expected to feel lost in the country.”
So thinks her husband, Tom, feeling guilty about taking Nancy and the children with him when he accepts a job teaching English in one of those small towns where all the other families have lived for six or seven generations. However, Nancy doesn’t even have time for the culture shock to set in before she suffers a health crisis. Then a local woman sues the school board for hiring Tom instead of her.
In order to preserve some suspense, I won’t explain how these sources of stress become bonding experiences for Tom and Nancy. I will say that it’s all a nice, tasteful, feel-good slice of rural life in the late 1970's.
If Tom’s and Nancy’s goal is to become accepted and put down roots in the small town, and if they can be said to have succeeded, how realistic is this? I’m not sure. Reeve Lindbergh would have been welcome in just about any small town, conceivably even mine, because so many people admired her father, Charles Lindbergh, and because she and her mother and sister were (consequently) very successful authors. Dearly Loved Though a Stranger Among Us.
I wouldn’t describe Moving to the Country as a comic novel; it’s too real. Like reality, however, it has comic moments, as when Nancy tries to teach herself to swear, or another city-bred back-to-the-lander unashamedly points out evidence of “toil and soil” on a neighbor’s hands. (Locals politely ignore him; after he’s out of earshot one observes dryly, “We are his religion, you know.”) Maybe you’ll get more of the jokes if your parents were either Real Farmers or successful Granola-Green Farmers. There’s a good bit of farm lore in Moving to the Country.
 Fair disclosure: I got this book at a library book sale, where its excellent condition, only seven circulation stamps in ten years, show that...well...apparently not too many farmers in Lee County, Virginia, want to read about farmers in Vermont. Pity. Vermont is in the Appalachian Mountains too. The land and lore are more similar than some of us care to admit. That’s why others of us enjoy going up there to cool off in summer.

But maybe it’s just too nice; too much like a novel by Debbie Macomber. Anyway, Moving to the Country is recommended to anyone who thinks that a scene where someone strains to be “liberated” enough to utter the F-word is as much smut, and a scene where a cow breaks a leg and is butchered immediately is as much death, as a novel needs.
And it's a Fair Trade Book: If you send $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment to either address at the very bottom of the screen, I'll send $1 per copy to Lindbergh or a charity of her choice. If you add other books by her to the package...they're a lot of different shapes and sizes, so how many books would fit into one package depends on the books, but shipping is still $5 per package, and the payment to living authors or their charities is still at least $1 per book.