The Farm She Was
by Ann Mohin
Published by Bridge Works Publishing
245 pages, 1998
Buy it online
An Island of Peace on the Farm
In halls and churches all over America, ladies were being taught how to hold and shoot guns, attack invaders, defend the countryside; and I had every intention of protecting my homestead. Shotguns and rifles stood like polished black bones in our pine gun cabinet and my Sweet Sixteen is loaded and at the ready now, right here next to this bed, and I'll not move it no matter what that pushy Reverend Thorne thinks.
The Farm She Was is Irene's own rambling retrospective on the life she was and the first half of the book is uncomfortable. One is left with the feeling that Irene's family is singularly dysfunctional, that Irene herself has led a life without color and vibrance and -- besides Mohin's lyrical prose -- just who the heck cares, anyway?
My box of photographs are faded now, mere outlines of the original image. I brought them downstairs with me, perhaps to share with Esther. They give me pleasure. I examine the yellow-edged squares of paper like a mother who searches the face of her adult child. If the removed and preoccupied body is no longer pertinent to her own, it is, in some physical way, related and for that reason, fascinating to her and to her alone.
The Farm She Was is a peaceful read. A book for those who like late summer afternoons and words that are strung together well. We'll even forgive Mohin her happy ending. | September 1, 1998
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine. Her fourth novel, Death was the Other Woman, will be published early in 2008 by St. Martin's Minotaur.