Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Review of "500 Acres and No Place To Hide" [56]

500 Acres And No Place To Hide by Susan McCorkindale
NAL Trade, ISBN 978-0451233363
August 2, 2011, 368 pages

In her first book, which I did not read, Susan McCorkindale explained how she and her family came to be wished for civilization, that is New York and New Jersey to a 500 acres cattle farm in the wilds of Virginia. Now, four years later, she is back and sharing some vignettes into her daily life and folks, they are often very funny. She is trying her best to adjust, to fit in, but it doesn't always work and for us, the results can be often quite amusing.

Hens taking up residence in the flower box after many of their cohorts were something. Having to change your shopping trips from designer shoes to trips to Tractor Supply for some lovely rubber boots to deal with the ever present mud..and other stuff you do not want on your feet or on your kitchen floor, where it always seem to end up due to children, dogs or wandering goats.

And yet, I must say, for the first part of the book, as much as I may have been laughing, I could not really identify with the author. Yes, she is from NJ, but she lived in a NJ/NYC world that is rather different from my own. I do not crave designer dresses and paying as much for a pair of shoes as I paid for my mortgage makes me a little nauseous. And I must say that I found her frequent 'jokes' about drinking wearing a little thin.

But then we come to the last third or so of the book and things take a turn. Sadly, a more serious turn. Her husband Stu, who she calls Hemingway, is diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and while she still tries her best to bring some humor to their experiences, at times it is heartbreaking too. But oddly, for me, now the book felt real too. I liked her stories about the fashionista longing for her lattes and Jimmy Choos in the first part of the book. They are often pretty funny.
But I really liked and identified with a woman afraid she would lose her best friend and partner, a wife afraid she would lose her husband, a mother fearing her sons would lose their dad and all the time still having to deal with those goats and chickens and bulls.

A book that starts out as an amusing diversion and ends up being  a bit more.
And yes, the cover is way cute.


  1. Wow, I didn't realize this book got so deep. I just held the give, did not receive a review copy. Hmmm... interesting. Fashionista world would not be relateable to me in the least but the end sounds intriguing.

  2. well, no maybe that deep, but real.
    and honestly, without the ending, I am not sure how much I would have liked it.

  3. The beginning of the book sounds rather irritating to me, but I'd be hard pressed to stay peeved at someone dealing with a husband who's sick.

  4. Well I do love the cover! Not sure about the book for me.

  5. Sounds like the cover masks how emotional and real the book becomes.


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