Friday, August 31, 2012

BC2012: Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale

I have no memory of purchasing this book. The tag says Half Price Books, and since it's a memoir I probably bought it in the second half of 2011 (I didn't get really into memoirs until the Borders bankruptcy, and the memoirs are often hard to find at HPB so I must have been inspired to look for that section). I probably bought it for my wife. She's into the "city to farm" genre because she dreams of having a farm someday, virtually oblivious to how much work it requires. But it was on top of my "unread" bookcase so I decided to read it anyway.

This book should have been shorter. The last 100 pages or so seemed like a different book. McCorkindale started out writing a memoir, then suddenly it became a disjointed collection of articles, many of which were only barely related to her farm living. It's as if she submitted the manuscript but then her editor said it had to be longer so she pasted a bunch of essays and/or blog entries into the end of the document. Speaking of her editor, she should have cut out the repeated jokes; if you groan the first time you read about the two boobs she gave birth to, you'll gag the second time. And the chapter about men missing the toilet? Geez, how hackneyed is that as a topic? What's next, airplane food?

The memoir part of Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl is sometimes entertaining, even though the author's personality can be annoying. Sometimes she's a Jersey girl. Other times she's Carrie Bradshaw. She talks a little too much about how successful she was as a copywriter and a marketing director (and how she got away with doing no work for a six-figure salary). She isn't much of a farm girl, counterfeit or otherwise. She spends a lot more time making fun of her husband's new job as a farm manager than she does doing any farm work herself. She often whines about how her area is devoid of Starbucks and fancy boutiques... Silly me, I thought that was why city people move to the country anyway, to get away from all that.

For that matter, she acts like she lives out in the middle of nowhere, but she doesn't. Look at Upperville, VA on a map and you'll see that it's only 50 miles from Washington, DC! She probably has neighbors who commute to work in the Virginia suburbs. Sheesh.

Although I wanted to like this book, in the end I guess I didn't. There are certainly some funny stories here, but McCorkindale's personality gets in the way. I am soooo happy to be married to my wife instead of someone like the author.


Weird Amazon.com Observation: This book gets 3.3 stars overall, but the three most helpful reviews and the vast majority of most recent reviews give it one or two stars. My guess is that her blog readers and/or friends pumped up the ratings early, and then the book tanked when the general public tried to read it. She has since published a sequel, and it looks like it may end up rated the same way -- the four lowest ratings are among the six most recent reviews.

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