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

Barbara Holland, Author
Barbara Holland, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-15-100268-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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.)
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