Friday 11 March 2011

The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby

Published by HarperCollins Publishers and HarperCollins Publishers Canada

Life is about to change for Prudence Burns, a New Yorker with a passion for living a more self-sustaining lifestyle. With so many ideas but not so much practice, Prudence is thrown in the deep end when she is contacted with the news that she has inherited a farm off the coast of Canada. Arriving on the farm, she discovers that Woefield Farm is thirty acres of scrubland with worn out buildings, an oftentimes cranky foreman named Earl, and one solitary half-sheared sheep. To top it all off, the bank is looking to foreclose, and a strange boy - Seth - from across the street, has asked to move in and offered his help though all he seems qualified to do is drink. What's a girl to do?

This book grabbed my attention from the start. Prudence is such an inspirational character who has the drive to achieve anything she sets her mind to. As each of the characters were introduced, I became so invested in each of them and laughed, and cried as they faced their various challenges. I love the way the author unfolds each of their stories and blends it all together seamlessly. Earl was probably the most difficult for me to truly love as he seemed very curt and almost pessimistic at times but he just dislikes change.

In addition to the colourful characters who live at Woefield Farm, we have Sara Spratt, a poultry lover who raises prize-winning chickens and needs a home for them. Prudence agrees they can reside on the farm and so we are introduced to the world of pedigree chickens and the craziness that is associated with it. The story is creative, inspirational, amusing, heartbreaking and addictive. I barely put the book down the whole time (in fact, I fine-tuned the art of balancing my dinner plate on my lap and eating while still racing through the pages) and reached the end feeling a sense of loss that I was having to end the adventure. I don't anticipate a sequel but I do know that if there was one, I would definitely purchase it to see what the Woefield crew are up to next.

On a personal note, the chicken aspects of the book, reminded me of a train ride I took last year. During a scheduled stop, there was a petting zoo including a selection of unique birds. I took so many images and this book brought those birds to mind frequently.

All in all, in case you couldn't tell yet, I really loved this book and the story is one that stays with you, long after the final page is turned. A winning read for me!

Also, check out this Q&A I did with Susan Juby as part of The Woefield Poultry Collective Blog Tour.

Author's website:


Marie said...

Great review! I loved this book, too. Nice photo of the chickens.

Charlene Martel said...

Thanks Marie! Yes, great book isn't it? I took way too many photos of those birds but it was the first time I had seen anything quite like them. The white one on the left was hardly recognizable as a bird! They are just so unique and great. I thought it would be worth sharing :)

Jeane said...

I've wanted for a while now to keep chickens in my backyard, so I'd be interested just to read about them! but I'm curious about self-sustaining lifestyles too, since I've started gardening. From city girl, too! (not me, the book) Definitely putting this one on my wishlist.

Charlene Martel said...

Definitely do Jeane. I really loved it. I am interested in self-sustaining lifestyles and gardening though I have no real chance of doing any of that until we get our own place and stop moving around so much. It's probably for the best right now as I definitely don't have green fingers. I can pretty kill artificial plants! lol

Teena in Toronto said...

I finished it tonight and enjoyed it.