Monday, March 14, 2011

Home to Woefield by Susan Juby Review

About Home to Woefield

• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 
Original edition (March 8, 2011)

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.

My Take: I like to read books I know nothing about because then I have no expectations.  Some I simply have to put down after the first 50 pages others keep my attention until the end.  This is one of those.

Basic premise is that Prudence, an unsuccessful writer and an eternal optimist, decides to try her hand at farming since her uncle kicked the bucket and she inherited the farm.  She arrives at Woefield which completely encompasses its name and begins scrubbing and enlisting help from whoever crosses her path mostly Earl, Seth, and Sarah.

Told in four different voices, the most endearing characters emerge.  Prudence, bless her heart, is a composting, save the earth, recycling and use no chemicals kind of a gal.  She's quirky, sweet, and expects everybody else to be as positive and helpful as she is.  It would not occur to her that anybody would have any other agenda except to further her work and save the whales (or whatever he current cause might be).  She is self-absorbed but not in a way that is off-putting.  She believes that EVERYBODY wants to help EVERYBODY.  She does.  She is transparent, sweet, and likeable.  

Seth:  Needs to wash his mouth and mind out with soap.  Due to a drama debacle in high school, he dropped out of school and became a serious recluse.  He is also a writer, although he devotes himself to blogging rather than literature.  To be inside his head is to be inside PWT from a double wide living with his mother.  I am laughing to myself as I type this because I refreshed my memory of Seth in Home Depot in town.  How woefully poor flirting skills had me laughing out loud.  He's a long and greasy-haired kind of kid who hasn't worked for anything, hasn't accomplished anything but his mother kicks him out (because she needs the space for her boyfriend's stuff and her crafts) so he asks Prudence if he can live with her.  Prudence agrees for the price of his work.  Only she really does mean work and he means that he'll take out the garbage once in awhile.  

Earl:  Has been living on the land for decades.  He doesn't do much but he does have a secret talent of banging on the banjo.  He is, what Seth calls a "Manly Man."  That means he is strong and silent.  Like Clint Eastwood.  He has a few secrets to spill.  His head is equally as entertaining as Seth's only without the "f" word riddling his thoughts and words.
Sarah:  11 and half years old and morose, she joins the group when her parents ask Prudence to house Sarah's chickens.  Prudence agrees and a chicken coop is built with much difficulty.  The chickens find a new home and Sarah finds a refuge from the storms of her life.  

This is not a fast moving novel.  It is a completely and utterly engrossingly quirky read.  Each character is presented in such a realistic manner, I couldn't help but laugh out loud.  Then let my heart cry a little bit when they hurt.  In the end, all of these characters find a home in Woefield.  Don't skip to the end.  What happens is much less important than the journey.  Loved it.

About Susan Juby

Susan Juby’s young adult fiction has garnered tremendous acclaim: recognition as a Children’s Book Sense 76 Pick and ALA Best Book, nominations for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor, and the in Canada First Novel award. Her trilogy about Alice MacLeod, beginning withAlice, I Think, was made into a television series of the same title that aired on CTV in Canada. This is her first adult novel. She lives in Vancouver Island, Canada.

Check out Susan’s website, and follow her on her blog, and follow her on Twitter: @thejuby

Interview with the Book Club Girl with Susan Juby on Blgo Talk Radio on Tuesday, April 5th at 4:00pm PT (7:00pm ET). 


CountessLaurie said...

Wow - I go to Disney only to miss 12 posts AND a complete blog makeover. Looking good around here. I love pink. It's my signature color.

The review was good too. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"What happens is much less important than the journey" - ooh, that makes me really want to dive into this book right now!

Thanks so much for being on this tour. I'm glad you have this book a chance and that it turned out so well for you.

Mystica said...

I was following this book tour as nice to see different perspectives of this book.

Marie said...

Great review! I, too, really enjoyed this book.

Anonymous said...

Fun I review!! I really liked this one too...and I love your blog its so fun to find new bloggers during the TLC tours...:)