Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

So of course she won the Pulitzer for this book, but that in and of itself doesn’t prejudge a book for me. I have sat thinking about this book for a couple of days now.  This was an easy read. It is the story of a third generation farmer who gives his farm to two of his three daughters and their spouses and the aftermath of how that affected the family. What I like most was the book gave me a sense of what it was like to live and work on a family farm. Being a city kid now living in Iowa, I found this helpful and interesting. I felt like I was peering into a foreign culture. The story depicts the dysfunction and dynamics within families. It talks about our inner lives compared to our outer lives. It is a reminder that we often don’t really know the suffering that most people live with. It points to the strength, the pain and destruction of keeping secrets. Ultimately it talks about how our history, all of it is a large part of defining who we are.  My only slight complaint about the book is that for the first 2/3 of the book it was evenly paced developing the characters. Then in the last third of the book it felt very rushed to tell us all the secrets. Time lapsed without going into depth how these revelations affected the characters in other then a cursory way. Even so, I think I was just seeking more of a good thing. I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it