Bingo Night at the Fire Hall: Rediscovering Life in an American Village

Barbara Holland, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-15-100268-9
In 1990, Holland (Endangered Pleasures) was comfortably settled in Philadelphia writing the occasional book when she inherited her mother's summer cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she had summered as a child. On April Fools' Day Holland packed her possessions into a U-Haul and moved to Pikestown, Va., to begin, in middle age, a new life. She found a vastly different world: a place where money and status are nearly irrelevant commodities, crime is as innocent as a stolen toolbox and politics are still local (although Washington is only 60 miles away); a place where the men work the land, the women tend the home and the children participate in 4-H clubs. But even when Holland settled into her antique way of life, there were signs that suburbia had been slowly encroaching upon this traditional town. Both a personal account of a new life and an elegy to a vanishing world, the book takes as its theme the simple idea of loving a place. Loosely organized around lessons learned in Holland's initiation into the community, it is filled with wonderful anecdotes--farmers searching during a power failure for senior citizens who remember how to milk a cow by hand, or children leading their sheep through an obstacle course at the county fair--that bring the community to vivid life. This is the highly engaging story of an adventurous woman and a charming locale, filled with gentle wit, warm humor and a touch of sadness. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-179-5
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-15-600665-1
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