Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book review: Coop

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting
by Michael Perry

What a fun book!  Perry has a great way of making his writing funny by using much more complicated vocabulary and sentence structure than is warranted by the situation.  He is also very skilled at bringing out the emotional complexities of starting a small farm: in his relationships with his family, his neighbors, his livestock, and in his ambivalent attitude about "work" that pays the bills versus "work" that feeds the family.

A quote for Susan:

"I wrote the word reverence into our vows in honor of the way my father has always treated my mother.  Dad taught me that reverence wasn't fawning, nor was it always delivered in hushed tones.  I saw it in the goofy way he doffed his fur-lined Boris Yeltsin hat when he opened the van door for her on Sunday mornings; the way he quietly abstained when we kids teased her for not getting our jokes; the way he never failed to leave the dinner table without thanking her.  And there was the reverence between them: lest we be deceived, on many occasions-- together and separately-- Mom and Dad made sure we understood that their marriage had rough patches and disagreements, but that they had long ago promised to work it out quietly behind closed doors.  It didn't hurt that they sometimes made sure to let us catch them kissing.  Nothing off-putting, just a hug and peck in the kitchen or in the sheep barn during lambing.  In this I believe they were extending their reverence to the children-- letting us know that when we went to sleep it was in a house headed by parents joined at hip and heart."

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