Thursday, February 10, 2011

Letters from Wheatfield

Patrick Shannon

What do you do for fun if you live in a small rural town, dauntingly far from the nearest city's plentiful amusements?  Upon what resources do you draw to spice up your existence?  Letters from Wheatfield provides the answer-and it isn't always pretty.

The fictitious town of Wheatfield is a tiny island in a vast sea of wheat fields and cattle ranges.  Its nearest neighboring towns, similarly small, are well over the horizon.  But its isolation has no effect on its inhabitants.  Theirs is a society of mirthful, blithe, spritely wags-a condition abetted by the presence of not a few eccentric individuals.

In Letters from Wheatfield, two transplants from Manhattan write to a cousin back home about the remarkable community that has assimilated and transmuted them-much to their amazement and great pleasure.

My Take:

If you come from a small town, you probably look back on said town in one of two ways: 1.) Complete and utter happy nostalgia.  To you, nothing compares to a small town where everyone knows everyone, and everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand.  There is no road rage and the pace of life is happily slower than the big cities. You believe this simple and innocent environment is the perfect place to raise a child.  You don't mind your towns folk's eccentricities, in fact, you enjoy them. OR!!!!! 2.) You hate the fact that everyone knows everyone because it means people can't mind their own dang business.  The small town rumor mill is always running in overdrive.  There is nothing to do and that is why 60% of the girls in your graduating class matriculated with a bun in the oven.  Now, if your thoughts tend to run with the first option, you'll probably enjoy this book a lot more than the second option.  See I come from a small town, but I moved away when I was about 13, keeping my disdain over my town at bay.  However, hearing stories from my older sisters and remembering seeing my mom so upset over how spiteful that particular towns gossips were definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  So my thoughts, while not as strong, tend to run with the second option.  Unfortunately the enjoyment I got from reading Letters from Wheatfield was diminished because the whole time I was thinking about a certain rotten Nevada mining town (in all fairness to the town, I've heard its gotten better in the decade I've been gone).  

Anyway...I did get more than a few chuckles out of the book despite myself.  The writing itself was fabulous-it was subtle and extremely funny.  The pacing was great and the characters were very eccentric yet very real.  The book was a very quick read and overall, I found I did enjoy it quite a bit.  So many of the silly and arbitrary important, nay--essential rules such as the art of the proper wave when passing a car (do you wave with 2 fingers with the heel of your hand of the wheel or a full on  lift your hand completely off the wheel and wave?) are brought to life which made me sigh a knowing sigh and shake my head.  If you are looking for a quick and funny read, and small towns don't leave a very bitter taste in your mouth, definitely take a look at Letters from Wheatfield.  If you do have distaste for that small town you grew up in, maybe read this book when you are at a standstill for 2 hours in rush hour gridlock, it might at least make you fondly remember small town traffic :) 3, Find a Used Book Store

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If Letters from Wheatfield was a movie, it would likely be rated PG

***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

If you are interested in purchasing Letters from Wheatfield, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Just saw your note on Bloggy Moms and came over.

As a life long reader, I am in love with your blog. I will certainly be back.

I'm off to see if you have a children's section. I hoping my 5 yo will also have a life long love of reading!

Feel free to stop by my place


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