Thursday, February 2, 2012

mormonhermitmom's review of It Takes a Village Idiot; Complicating the Simple Life by Jim Mullen

I picked this one up in a thrift store - yes I was desperate for a cheap read. This is what happens when your local library is only open for four hours a day after school hours and if there is a school holiday it's closed PERIOD.

Actually though, it turned out to be one of my better 'cold' picks. I busted a gut, or nearly, I mean I really tried not to because when you are reading late at night in bed with a headlamp because your spouse has to get up at 0' dark thirty in the morning, you really can't laugh out loud. That would be rude.

There were a few rude words in the book, so put this book down as a PG - okay I think there might have been one or two f-bombs - so maybe PG-13. But oh my, aside from that ... okay here goes.

This book has a copyright of 2001 and it mentions a bomb scare in New York so I'm not sure if it's pre-9/11 or post-9/11 but it fits either way. Pardon me, I digress.

A New York City couple are living a pretty good life. She's in textiles, he's a journalist. They use the public transportation system and taxis to get around. They have their favorite restaurants, shops, stores and they are thoroughly city folk. They have friends who have homes in upstate New York that sometimes they will visit but not often.

Then she decides to quit smoking. She succeeds, but she knows to keep herself away from the cigarettes, she has to keep her hands busy. Well, what's busier than remodeling a fix-er-upper farm in upstate New York? He thinks she's nuts.

She looks and looks, finds one she likes and buys it - from a local bank located in a trailer. No credit check. "You got a job?" is all the bank president asks. And so the adventure/torture begins. Over the course of many weekends over several years, she starts fixing up the house over her partner's objections (I never really found out if they were married or just living together - in any case it was a committed relationship - how committed I'll let you be the judge.)

He hates everything about the country. He hates that the house is on a dirt road. He hates the smell of the nearby field when the neighbor spreads manure on it. He hates the power outages, the third world plumbing, the only restaurant in town that serves a side of pulled pork with every meal. He especially hates how he can't get a real newspaper. Who doesn't read the Times? Well everyone in town basically. Newspapers are for the "flatlanders".

Slowly the couple start adjusting to the locals and the "culture", or lack thereof in his mind, thank you very much. He gets used to her ever expanding gardening. He learns that you just have to wave to everybody even if you don't know them. And oddly enough, they end up spending more and more of their week in the country until finally... they are there full time.

They don't entirely assimilate - that's where all the funny stuff comes in. If you need a good belly laugh, whether you hail from town or country, this is a good one.
I must insert an excerpt because I just can't tell it any better.

He's talking about their efforts to keep critters out of their garden...

For the deer, we decided to go with a wire fence. It was expensive, but we'll have to do it only once. But that wouldn't solve the woodchuck problem. They could dig under any fence. With them it turned into hand-to-hand combat, mano-a-marmot. Patrolling the perimeter one day, Sue spotted a woodchuck down by the barn and yelled for me to come help. I grabbed the first thing I could find - my 6-iron - and ran down there. We had the thing cornered and I started clubbing it it. It was something out of Goodfellas. Each smack made a sickening thump, but the thing wouldn't stop twitching. I didn't want it to suffer, but I couldn't seem to finish it off. Finally I came down with a mighty stroke right on its head. Woodchuck blood splattered all over me, my shirt, my pants, my face. But it stopped moving. Just then Vardon Frasier drove up. He looked at me and the shirt and the pant and the club, leaned out the window, and said, "I use a three-wood."

Now, if that paragraph didn't get a chuckle from you, just forget the whole thing and go browse Amazon. I may have to hold on to the book for this spring when I start putting my garden together. I don't have fence up yet and I want to be prepared.

1 comment:

  1. My sources say the publication date was in May 2001, so certainly pre-9/11. It sounds like a fun read.


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