Friday, February 21, 2014

Mud Season, Ellen Stimson

Mud Season: How One Woman’s Dream of Moving to Vermont, Raising Children, Chickens and Sheep, and Running the Old Country Store Pretty Much Led to One Calamity after Another


Ellen Stimson                        

Category: Nonfiction: Memoir: Projects & Adventures; Parenting & Families

Synopsis: Stimson and her family move to Vermont and open a country store.

Date finished: 2 February 2014     

Rating: ***

I’d decided sometime last year to stop buying books that were supposed to be funny, because they were really letting me down. Still, I defied my own edict and bought this one. Something about it said it would be a nice, fast, enjoyable-for-what-it-was read. And that’s exactly what it was.

Plus, it was actually funny in places. I’d liken the humor to Jen Lancaster’s—though with much less swearing.

The trouble with funny nonfiction books is that you never get to fully trust the person telling the story. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning in which Stimson admits not all of her story is true. I hate that. I really do. Write fiction if you want to, but don’t clutter up the nonfiction market with fictionalized nonfiction.

But, I was able to enjoy the story for what it was: a mostly true account of a chaotic family who moves from St. Louis to Vermont to run a country store (into the ground), raise some chickens and sheep (well, a sheep), and call 911 a lot. The narration jumps around in time a fair amount, and Stimson’s personality overpowers the story in places, but all in all it’s a fun story to break up the winter reading doldrums.

My favorite line, spoken of her dog: “Up with this, he would not put.” Had I been drinking milk, which I would not, it may have come out of my nose.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
For diversion only.

You might also enjoy:

about running a store:
My Korean Deli, Ben Ryder Howe

about living in small towns:
The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson
Dewey, Vicki Myron
Coop, Mike Perry

about families relocating:
The Foremost Good Fortune, Susan Conley
French Kids Eat Everything, Karen Le Billon
Paris in Love, Eloisa James
Home is a Roof over a Pig, Aminta Arrington

about living closer to the earth:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
The Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball
The Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery
The Feast Nearby, Robin Mather

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