Wednesday, September 7, 2011

500 Acres and No Place to Hide

I didn't know much about Susan McCorkindale when I first opened her second memoir, 500 Acres and No Place to Hide, but it didn't take long for me to learn that she is a terrifically funny lady who is hiding some serious depth underneath a whimsical exterior.

McCorkindale's shtick is that she is an out-of-place New Jersey girl whose husband brings her to farm country where she fumbles around her ranch in high heels, sharing her foibles as she goes.

And she is that. She's funny, she's silly, she accidentally kills a chicken in the first chapter. McCorkindale is someone I could hang out with, and her book is all kinds of fun. The pleasant surprise, however, is that she's far deeper than that.

Sprinkled in with the bullfrogs that surprise her in the middle of the night and the cows she has to chase down after they escape through holes in the fence, McCorkindale drops in passages about her autistic son and her own history with depression.

Where I wish she didn't have to show depth is in the second half of the book, where she chronicles her husband's brutal battle with cancer. By the time she starts to relate his story, I was so invested in her life that I felt like I was reading about friends, and I was heartbroken to find out about her husband's illness.

All in all, this is a funny, bittersweet read. I'll definitely be checking out her first memoir as well. 

McCorkindale's first book is Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl. She will be signing books tonight (September 7, 7 p.m.) at Barnes & Noble (3040 M Street, Georgetown) in DC. Find her full list of events on her Facebook page.

Honesty Clause: I received a review copy of this book.