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Review: The Orchard

January 26, 2012

After an unsettling childhood with a troubled mother and an absent father, Theresa Weir was living in Iowa, working at, and living in, her uncle’s bar.  When Adrian Curtis, a young apple farmer, came in after a wedding, the two began an odd sort of courtship and married shortly thereafter, without really knowing each other.  Weir didn’t realize that by marrying Adrian, she was marrying his family and their farm too.

Weir weaves stories from her past with stories of her life with Adrian in her beautifully written memoir, The Orchard.  She slowly reveals her difficult childhood while she struggles to understand the intricacies of marriage and the family she’s married into.  Weir finds hope and contentment in a life that would have left others bitter and I found her story uplifting and sorrowful at the same time.  Reading this book was a very emotional experience for me – I literally sobbed at one point – and, days later, I still feel it’s impact.

Along with her life story, Weir writes the story of the farm and its struggles and triumphs.  She reveals the lure of the land to farming families and the dangers and sacrifices involved in farming.  Her poetic words will make you think about what it takes to grow the food you eat.

I highly recommend The Orchard to anyone who loves beautiful writing and especially to those who love memoirs.  It’ll make you pause and reflect and may even change your attitudes about farming and pesticides.  I’ll carry Weir’s story in my heart for quite  a while.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2012 7:00 am

    I love meomoirs. I will definitely have to check this one out. Thanks for the review.

  2. January 26, 2012 7:43 am

    This sounds like a great memoir. I am most curious about the orchard and the family she marries into. I’ll be on the lookout for this in the library.

  3. January 26, 2012 7:54 am

    I’ve heard great things about this memoir. It sounds very emotional and very interesting.

  4. January 26, 2012 8:29 am

    I have this one on my shelf (got it last year at an ALA session with the author), but haven’t gotten to it yet. Sounds like I’m in for a treat when I do.

  5. January 26, 2012 8:37 am

    This one is new to me, and it sounds really good. I’m going to add this one to my wish list. It sounds really emotional.

  6. January 26, 2012 8:51 am

    I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but this one sounds like it had an emotional impact on you and is worth considering.

  7. January 26, 2012 9:08 am

    I sobbed too! thought this was a wonderful book! (And I totally will only buy organic apples now!)

  8. January 26, 2012 9:14 am

    I have this book too. Now I want to read it… today!

  9. January 26, 2012 9:39 am

    This sounds extremely powerful. I think I’m going to have to wait a few weeks before reading it!

  10. January 26, 2012 9:45 am

    I have this one on my shelves and want to get to it soon. I don’t read alot of memoirs, but when I do they tend to be in one of several “topics” and food-related offerings are one of my favorites. I’m glad to see that this had such an impact on you; makes me want to dig out my copy 🙂

  11. January 26, 2012 10:34 am

    I have really become interested in memoirs lately. This one sounds like one I’d like to read.

  12. January 26, 2012 11:07 am

    And I must read more fiction, just gotta make it to the library

  13. January 26, 2012 11:27 am

    I confused this one with another book with almost the same cover, but that one is sci-fi!

  14. January 26, 2012 11:28 am

    Thanks for sharing your review, this sounds very good.

  15. January 26, 2012 11:51 am

    I must have this. I must have this. I must have this. Apparently deep down inside I have a need to cry some more.

  16. January 26, 2012 12:16 pm

    Sounds way too emotional for me., but beautiful too.

  17. January 26, 2012 1:32 pm

    I’ve seen this one, captured by the cover art. This story sounds very emotional, I love a good memoir, I might have to pick it up.

  18. January 26, 2012 1:52 pm

    Oh, I had no idea that this one could leave such an impact, and now I am even more curious about reading it! It sounds like it was a profound read for you Kathy, and that intrigues me. I know I am a super emotional person, so I can only imagine what I would think of it. Need to find out!

  19. January 26, 2012 2:54 pm

    It does have such a lovely cover.
    It sounds complex and wonderful!!!

  20. January 26, 2012 3:01 pm

    I’ve had this on my list for quite some time, and after reading your review, I’ll bump it up!

  21. January 26, 2012 4:04 pm

    I do love memoirs and the fact that this one is set on a farm is a bonus!

  22. January 26, 2012 5:20 pm

    This sounds like a beautiful read. I’m adding it to my list.

  23. January 26, 2012 7:48 pm

    thanks for a wonderful review, memoirs are not usually my genre, but this sounds so good.

  24. January 26, 2012 9:42 pm

    I too like memoirs and this sounds a very intense one.

  25. January 26, 2012 10:26 pm

    This sounds so touching! Wonderful review!

  26. January 26, 2012 11:11 pm

    This sounds amazing!

  27. January 26, 2012 11:42 pm

    I’ve been waffling this one because I know what happens! And I’m not sure that I want to subject myself to that, even if it is beautifully written.

  28. January 27, 2012 12:40 am

    Hi Kathy,

    I am not a big fan of memoirs, but even I may be tempted by this one.

    I checked out the official synopsis and can see potentially, all does not end happily, but the struggle sounds poignant and emotional.

    It is not a typical scenario for a memoir, perhaps that, together with your review, has made this so appealing for me.

    I also love the simplicity of that cover art, thanks for sharing

  29. January 27, 2012 7:22 am

    I’m adding The Orchard to my list. Lovely review, Kathy.

  30. January 27, 2012 11:12 am

    I am adding this one to my to-read list – wonderful review, Kathy!

  31. January 27, 2012 5:17 pm

    I love a memoir that really moves you and this one sounds incredibly powerful. Thanks for the recommendation!

  32. January 27, 2012 8:08 pm

    I knew I should have put this one on my Kindle when I had the chance!! Sounds wonderful…I think I’m going to have to buy it anyway!

  33. January 27, 2012 10:21 pm

    Sounds like a really great book, and thought-provoking at that. i haven’t read too much about pesticides or farm life so it would be a new thing for me.

  34. January 28, 2012 12:27 am

    You and Jill sobbed?! Must be one powerful story. I’m already wary of pesticides so I’m sure this would only make me more crazy.

  35. January 28, 2012 10:39 am

    I enjoy memoirs when it’s a subject I’m interested in. We’re all becoming more aware of how farming is changing and what has been happening to the family farms. Must add this to my list.

  36. January 28, 2012 11:58 am

    This sounds wonderful Kathy!

  37. January 28, 2012 12:04 pm

    I’ll have to check this one out…

  38. January 28, 2012 7:01 pm

    Sometimes I want a book that will make me sob. And I love memoirs. I’ll have to look for this one.

  39. February 6, 2012 3:17 pm

    Always been a city/county person myself but have to admit I am drawn to farming. I don’t know what it is. So this sounds like a wonderful memoir for me. On the wish list it goes.

  40. February 15, 2012 9:31 am

    I have this on my Kindle, but have to say that I’m not too excited about sobbing. 😦

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