I am not sure exactly what I was expecting when I started reading Coop; A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry, but I got so much more… and less… than I was expecting. I think I was expecting something more like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m not sure what gave me that impression; the title, the description, the cover? No matter the cause, Coop is not really anything like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, unless you count the efforts by the two writers to live off their land. Perry is a great writer, of that there is no doubt. Coop is incredibly well written, if slightly meandering look at Perry’s life, but instead of being about poultry, farms, or eggs, it is more about family. Perry examines his early life and the ways of his parents; the honest way they lived, worked, raised him and his many brothers and sisters (his parents were foster parents as well, they raised over sixty children, many of whom were special needs). He takes these memories to remake himself as a husband, father, and farmer. With a stepdaughter to raise, another child on the way, and over thirty-seven acres of ramshackle farmland to take care of, he knows he needs to reexamine those life lessons.
Perry writes with humor, eloquence, and a genteel humility that is refreshing and I felt a certain kinship to the man as he struggles to do even the simplest things right. I have a very small garden in my backyard, big enough to last my family the summer, with hopefully a little bit left from canning and freezing to supplement our food during the winter. Unfortunately I have commute to work and two children to entertain when I get home; so when I read of how Perry juggles his freelance writing with the daily farm life he hopes to lead…well, I was impressed. And inspired.
So yes, it wasn’t what I expected at all, and sometimes, those are the best books of all.
For more on Michael Perry please visit his website: http://sneezingcow.com/
Michael Perry will be on Blog Talk Radio with Book Club Girl on Monday, June 7th at 7pm EST.
Coop; a Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg
Author: Michael Perry
Published by: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback, 382 page
On Sale: (May 4, 2010)
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