Growing Upcountry: Raising a Family & Flock in a Rural Place

Don Mitchell, Author Camden House Publishing (Ontario, CA) $9.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-944475-18-8
This series of essays uses farm life, specifically sheep herding in Vermont, as a basis for reflections on children growing up, the meaning of work and the nature of pleasure. Mitchell ( Moving UpCountry ) is at his most cogent when describing what has got to be one of the toughest ways to earn a living--from price supports and marketing cooperatives to keeping a flock infection free. His hard-won insights ring true, and he clearly does not regret his decision to abide in the country. But he becomes simplistic and silly when he coaxes philosophy out of the natural stages of his children's growth. For example, from an otherwise pk winning vignette on his daughter's experience with the Tooth Fairy (who, she concludes quickly, is none other than her own father), he attempts to extract a moral: ``farm children come to value cunning and craftiness and human ingenuity over the bland comforts of credulousness.'' He is better when he is less pompous and lets the lessons his children teach him about the wonders and perils of life speak for themselves. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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