The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby
Review by Libby McKeever.
Prudence: I allowed the mood to continue for twenty minutes. Any longer than that would be wallowing.
Seth: I don’t know if you’re familiar with Def Leppard. Now there’s a band that has seen some trouble…After the scene at Home Depot I felt like Def Leppard in their darkest days, only without the album sales, the groupies or the fame.
Earl: I ain’t played in front of nobody since I left the band when I was seventeen years old. Sure I still play some, but only when there’s nothing on TV. The old man used to spend hours listening. I figured I might as well play for him since we weren’t doing nothing anyway.
Sara: My mom stayed in the car and told me to go and introduce myself to the lady who owns the farm and tell her about my birds and what they need. I think my mom just wanted to be alone in the car. Sometimes, when my dad and her aren’t getting along, she goes and sits in the car in the driveway.
When Prudence’s only relative, Great-Uncle Harold dies and leaves her his Vancouver Island farm, she jumps at the opportunity to leave her stalled writing career in New York and live her dream as a back-to-the land farmer. She arrives to find a dilapidated farm house (and equally decrepit farm hand – Earl), a half shorn sheep named Bertie, and land that seems to only grow rocks. Reneging is an unknown to Prudence and she takes on Woefield Farm with the view that “enthusiasm counts for a lot in dancing and in life.”
This very funny account is told in the truly genuine voices of the four main characters, Prudence, Seth Earl and Sara. The Woefield Poultry Collective chronicles the revival of not only the farm, but the characters themselves.
Seth, after a painful public humiliation involving his grade 11 drama teacher spent the last two years drinking and blogging on Hollywood scandals and heavy metal bands.
Earl, a talented mandolin player who left the family band, The Lonesome Boys decades ago, is lonely and bitter.
Sara, an eleven-year-old girl, caught in the middle of her parent’s marital issues has one passion, raising poultry and a leader’s determination.
Prudence, undeterred by obstacles (or lying) takes on the farm with this band of loveable misfits to create something quite special.
It was difficult to finish this book. It meant the end of my journey with these offbeat, crazy characters. I will miss them.
Susan Juby is the author of several successful books, including The Alice Macleod Trilogy (Alice, I Think (2000), Miss Smithers (2004), Alice Macleod: Realist at Last (2005). Juby’s other Young Adult titles are, Another Kind of Cowboy (2007) and Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance and Cookery (2008). Juby’s first non-fiction book, Nice Recovery (2010) recounts the story of her struggle with alcoholism as a youth.
The Woefield Poultry Collection (2011) is her first specifically adult fiction book, although the Alice series has also been enjoyed by adults and youth alike. Her latest book, Bright’s Lights, a dystopian thriller, is due to be released in September. Susan will appear at the 2012 Whistler Readers and Writers Festival, October 12 – 14th.