The story is enough.

The story is enough.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Post Hole Digger by James Pope

I am a sucker for a farm-boy story.  In fact, my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book is Farmer Boy.  Something about the tale of a boy growing up the hard way, facing hard facts, and doing hard work is intriguing to this softie of a girl.

Post Hole Digger arrived, signed by the author, looking crisp and fun.  Then I read the blurb on the back.  "This is the true story of one Iowa farm boy and how he was called upon to fulfill responsibilities for things years beyond his age." Okay.  Could use some tightening up.  Moving on.  "These responsibilities are taking place every day on farms across the United States,  and being called upon at an early age, childhood has pass them by." A lot more problems with that sentence.  And then it closed with "The children do not have the luxury of playful activities as they must shoulder the responsibility of fulfilling their family needs."  This is the blurb that is supposed to excite and entince me to read this memoir?

I struggled with the content inside the covers, as well.  The final sentence of the book is not only abrupt, but seems to be missing words.  It is then followed by a list.  It's awkward and unprofessional.

Post Hole Digger is a memoir - written in third person, using past tense, then randomly shifting into a passive voice.  Dialogue is akin to watching "Father Knows Best" or "Leave it to Beaver".  While the adventures and efforts of young Jim on the farm are intriguing, and many are important to share, the telling of them in this manner is frustrating.  The rough and awkward narrative suddenly becomes a Harlequin romance when Jim "becomes a man".  Consistency in voice and tone is hard to find here.

With some professional editing, this book has promise.  Maybe not as a great piece of literary work, but as a respectable, and readable, memoir about an Iowa farm boy.  

Photo credit:,204,203,200_.jpg

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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