Susan Juby makes her first appearance on the blog today with the second in her Woefield Farms series: a mix of woman’s lit, humor and plenty of animals and narrated by the ensemble cast of C.S.E. Cooney, Rudy Sanda, Tom Perkins, and Amy Melissa Bentley. Please read on for my review of
Republic of Dirt
Not having read the first in the series, it took a moment to acclimate to the people that comprise this story: a bit of a trick as there are four points of view telling the story: Prudence, Seth, Earl and Sara. Beginning with Prudence – she is the center around which the story begins: the person who brought the group together at the farm she inherited on Vancouver Island. Fast becoming the ‘foodie” destination with farm to table opportunities at their zenith – Prudence not only wants to make Woefield Poultry Collective a growing concern, but she hopes to make the world, and the people she encounters, discover a bit of goodness and kindness in all things. A bit mired in her own good intentions – she’s wonderfully earnest and good-intentioned, and not easily daunted. Fortunately she also inherited someone with knowledge of the farm and farming in Earl.
Earl’s no-nonsense approach to the world, and his seeming endless patience with the oft-frenetic (if good natured) energy of Prudence is adorable. He’s the ‘salt of the earth” in a very Canadian sense of it (meet a Newfie and you’ll understand) where the humor is quietly lurking despite an often gruff exterior. But Prudence is not ‘herself’ and is far less energetic and capable than she has been – leaving the management to Earl and his assistant, Seth. For his part, at 21, Seth is working his 12 step programme, listening to heavy metal, full of interesting (and often hilarious observations) while contemplating his next move into the dating world and the questions and anxiety that arises. Lastly, there is pre-teen Sara – she is obsessed (with a capital O) with chickens – and aside from that rather odd quirk and parents who have zero idea how to relate to her, she is also a voice of reason and keen observation – her parents alternate between helicopter style and borderline neglect – leaving Sara to manage her own life, mostly: or scheming her way back to Woefield and her beloved chickens.
What emerges between the laughter and imagery here – and some moments with Bertie the sheep and Lucky the mule with his own ‘way’ of accomplishing exactly what HE thinks is needed: is heart. Heart and acceptance, loyalty, friendship and belonging all underpinned with a determination to make a mark and a difference on one another, the farm and the world. Each character finds a moment to shine and contribute to the growth and understanding of the others: each moment of growth is evident, that makes the progression and growth of the group as a whole appear in a way that is natural and organic.
Narration for this story is a collective performed by C.S.E. Cooney, Rudy Sanda, Tom Perkins, and Amy Melissa Bentley. Each narrator managed to embody the person presenting their version of the story as it progressed, with clarity and appropriate pauses, emoting and precise timing. While most of the characters are unaware of their ‘humor’ as they speak, there were subtle pauses that allowed the listener a moment to absorb and process that humor, or to reflect on the emotions brought forward. A completely unique and wholly Canadian-feeling sort of story that combined narration, emotion and intention with equal aplomb and leaves listeners smiling.
Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 5
Title: Republic Of Dirt, A Return to Woefield Farm
Author: Susan Juby
Series: Woefield #2
Genre: Animals, Contemporary Fiction - Adult, Humor elements, Satire, Setting: Canada
Narrator: C.S.E. Cooney, Amy Melissa Bentley, Rudy Sanda, Tom Perkins
Published by: Harper Perennial, Recorded Books
Published on: 19 June, 2017
Source: Recorded Books
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 10 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google ♦Audible
Prudence Burns is an overly idealistic Brooklyn girl who has inherited a derelict plot of land named Woefield Farm. Her motley crew of farm hands consists of Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry.
When Prudence is felled by a thyroid condition, things on the farm begin to fall apart, resulting in valiant and sometimes ill-advised attempts to restore domestic bliss. Efforts are complicated by a renegade mule, attempts to turn a hideously ugly child’s playhouse into a high-yield roadside farm stand, and an electrical station’s worth of crossed wires. Will Prudence get well? Will Seth finally get rid of his pesky virginity? Will Earl rescue Sara? And will anyone, ever, admit they might be wrong?
Told in four highly distinct, unforgettably hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking voices, The Republic of Dirt is about what happens when passions collide with pride and what it takes to save each other, our small part of the planet, and ourselves.
A copy of this title was provided via Recorded Books for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.