I have always been a huge fan of memoirs. And true crime. It makes such an impact on me to know that these stories are true. I can obsess a little, look up pictures on the Internet, and know that real life can be stranger than fiction.
I'd heard many things about this memoir. I knew it was a cautionary tale about pesticides. And I knew I needed to read it at home with tissues at the ready. I was in a bit of a reading slump when I received it from the library, and I picked it up knowing it would fix me.
Synopsis: Theresa was a young and wayward girl, working in her uncle's bar, when she met the handsome apple farmer Adrian. Swept away by a whirlwind romance, Theresa ignored warnings from the locals that Adrian's family was cursed and married him. She began doubting the wisdom of her decision soon after the wedding however. She was completely rejected by Adrian's family, and she rarely saw her husband because of his long hours in the field.
But Theresa is nothing if not a fighter, a survivor. She learns to cook, helps Adrian in the field, learns to love her husband on a deeper level, bears two children, and eventually begins to write novels to prove to herself that she is of some worth. She also learns about the destructive toll of pesticides on the land and on humans, a force that she and Adrian are unable to conquer, no matter their awareness or determination.
My thoughts: At a time when I barely had ten minutes to sit and relax, I still was able to read this book in less than 24 hours. Granted, it is only 240 pages, but is written in such easy, compelling prose, it is impossible to put down. Theresa's words sound like she is talking to you over a coffee. Also driving me towards the last page was knowing that this story was not going to have a happy ending.
I realize this sounds dreary. And the story WILL make you cry. But it is also so tender, this husband and wife who went from virtual strangers to soul mates. Often you see farm life romanticized, but Theresa gives it to us straight. There is nothing easy about the long hours of manual labor, and the total reliance on the Russian Roulette of weather and disease for your livelihood. That was my dad's reality.
Theresa's tale is also one filled with warnings and lessons about pesticides of which we should all be aware. For 8 or 9 years, my family has been as organic-supportive as we possibly can be, particularly with milk, meat and thin-skinned fruits and vegetables. This book just solidified the whole business for me. I won't need to be reminded after reading this touching, memorable little story.
5 out of 5 stars