Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eighty Acres: Elegy for a Family Farm

Author: Ronald Jager

First line: When we walked barefoot through the puddles in the driveway, it was nice to feel the mud between our toes.

Why you should read this book: With quiet humor and warm nostalgia, the author recounts his early years as the middle child in a vibrant Dutch-American farming family. His youthful exuberance and love of farming run through a story redolent with newly harvested potatoes, barns full of hay, and his mother's canned fruits, boiled and fried meat, and joyful pies. This is a story of a bygone era, an elegy and a eulogy, as the child unfolds the details of his early love of farming, the gentle sparring between his own desire to become a modern farmer and his father's insistence on clinging to the old ways, and the simple pleasures of an era that ended, suddenly, and finally, as he came of age.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You were a real estate speculator in the 70s and 80s, and you were delighted to buy up huge tracts of farmland, dirt cheap, and transform them into vast tracts of suburbia.

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