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Prudence Burns, a well-intentioned New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, just inherited Woefield Farm—thirty acres of scrubland, dilapidated buildings, and one half-sheared sheep. But the bank is about to foreclose, so Prudence must turn things around fast! Fortunately she'll have help from Earl, her banjo-playing foreman with a family secret; Seth, the neighbor who hasn't left the house since a high school scandal; and Sara Spratt, an eleven-year-old who's looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens.

Home to Woefield is about learning how to take on a challenge, face your fears, and find friendship in the most unlikely of places.

Topics: Alcoholism

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 8, 2011
ISBN: 9780062074607
List price: $9.99
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I wanted to like this book. I thought the concept seemed promising. But I didn't love it. First of all, even though it's advertised as an adult book, I think it reads as YA. It's not surprising, considering the author mainly writes YA. And I don't mind YA, but that's when I know I'm reading YA. For instance, it's hard to relate to an adult character who acts and talks like a teenager. The main character, Prudence, was really poorly written; if she was a teenager, it would have been fine. Further, the two main male characters were...boring? I'm not sure. The only segments I really enjoyed reading were the child's segments (again, not surprisingly), and her story was left with such a poor ending that it was hard to believe this was the book. Sara (the girl) is exploring some sort of way to feel better about her terrible home life, and that includes searching for religion. Unfortunately, I don't feel like this storyline ended believably or satisfactorily. I finished it, so I guess that's something. But I can't in good conscience recommend this to anyone.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Normally, I would begin by telling you a bit about the plot and what I though would follow....But - I cannot wait 'til the end of the post to tell you how much I ADORED this book. Susan Juby is a Canadian author who has previously written award winning young adult novels, but Home to Woefield is her first book written specifically for adults. Prudence Burns is a young, idealistic New Yorker, determined to do the right thing for the earth - she makes her own bread (even hand milling the ancient grains) recycles everything, shares a car service, buys from local co-ops and even has a worm composter."I don't know about you, but for me there came that moment during every visit to the farmers' market when I wanted more. I wanted to be the one standing behind the folding table, a truck of organic produce at my back, displaying my heirloom tomatoes and baby potatoes. I want to be the one handing over glossy sheaves of swiss chard at a reasonable price and talking knowledgeably about my mushroom patch. The one looking cold and somewhat chapped about the face and hands, yet more alive than anyone else in unfashionable rubber boots and dirty pants."Her enthusiasm has not rubbed off on her live in boyfriend Leo. In fact, those worms were the final straw. When she gets a call telling her that she has inherited a farm from her only remaining relative, Great Uncle Harold (whom she's never met) she packs up and moves to Vancouver Island, Canada. She'll be able to make those dreams come true!Dreams and reality collide when she arrives. Farm is an enthusiastic term for what she finds, and apparently she has inherited a 'negative asset' according to the bank. But our Prue is eternally optimistic..."The property was spectacular. So rugged and untouched. All that wonderful grass. The beauty of stray stones in a field." "A farm is nothing but limitless potential, waiting to be uncovered." She has also inherited Earl, a sometime handyman who has lived on the property for 35 years. Her planned strawberry social memorial to Uncle Harold introduces her to a few more of the neighbours. Seth from across the way ends up asking if she has a room to rent. His mother wants him out of the house as he's been in hiding since that incident with the drama club, writing celebrity gossip and heavy metal blogs from the confines of his basement bedroom. And he might have a wee bit of a drinking problem. Prudence takes him in in exchange for chore duty. And during that strawberry social she also meets Sara's mother, who asks if she would mind building a coop and housing her daughter's chickens - they just can't keep them in their residential neighbourhood any longer. They'll pay of course - so the answer is yes.And these are the residents of Woefield Farm. The story is told in chapters from the viewpoint of each of the characters. All four of them leap off the page - each voice is funny, unique and sometimes heartbreaking. Eleven year old Sara especially grabbed me. There are lots of problems at home and she spends more and more time at the farm, trying to live her life according the the guidelines and principles of the Junior Poultry Club - Getting Started, Take Action and Leaders Are Even Tempered.Prudence is unfailingly optimistic. Her view is sunny when there isn't a ray in sight. Really, she's the kind of person you would love to know and have as a friend. And someone you just can't help cheering for. Juby is a very funny woman. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud while reading, but Prudence's forays into Home Depot, and a disastrous attempt at sheep shearing and tmany other scenes had me laughing out loud at work - prompting more than one read aloud session to my co workers.Four diverse personalities band together to save the farm and in the process - save themselves. Home to Woefield is a hilarious, heartwarming, heartbreaking, heartfelt heck of a read. I was going at breakneck pace and had to put the book down and save the final 50 pages. I just didn't want it to end. Maybe...we'll hear more from the farm in the future? What do you think Susan?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
There is a trend right now for adults to read YA literature. Being the cantakerous reader than I am, I still don't read much of it, not because I think it's of a lesser quality but because most of the premises I've seen haven't appealed to me much. This first novel targeted at adults by YA author Susan Juby appealed to me greatly though. The idea of a native New Yorker with back to the land ambitions inheriting a scrubby farm in Canada and moving there to try her hand at farming sounds like just my type of book. I've read a number of these in memoir form but I hadn't yet come across this story in fiction until now. Just let me say that I enjoyed this book so much that I fully intend to go back and read Juby's YA works (and maybe even pass them along to the YA reader in my house if they are as entertaining as this book was).Told in four narrative voices, that of Prudence, who has inherited the farm and its seemingly insurmountable debts from her late uncle; Sara, the eleven year old girl who moves her chickens to Woefield Farm; Earl, the cranky septugenarian farm hand who came with the farm; and Seth, the twenty-one year old alcoholic blogger from across the road who moves in when his mother kicks him out. It is indeed a woeful and motley crew of characters but they are completely hilarious and charming. Prudence is delightfully naive, certain she can make the farm a paying proposition based on her extensive reading of "moving and starting over" memoirs. She is uber-positive and incredibly motivated, if as innocent of the necessities involved with farm life as a newborn chick. She is indeed a cheerful force to be reckoned with.To start with, Prudence must face the dire financial situation on the farm that she is so determined will fulfill her dream of living sustainably. In order to buy a little time, she decides to hoodwink the bank by telling them that she is opening the farm up as a treatment center, using the alcoholic Seth as a dummy client. And somehow she pulls it off but then she is landed with a local mother desperate for help with her sullen, drug-abusing teenaged daughter in tow as well as the local writing group who has learned that Prudence is a published author (the fact that her novel was poorly received and almost unknown seems to dissuade the group about her skills not at all). As Prudence juggles the situations she's created for herself, jaded Earl goes about the farm trying to build the things that Prudence's visions require, Seth fights his demons, and Sara stoically endures a demoralizing home life.The plot is not overly complicated and the main focus of the story is on building relationships more so than building a productive farm. Watching the four very disparate characters come together is great fun and having the differing perspectives on each disaster as it befalls them is wonderful. Where else can so many characters riff on a sheep wearing maxi-pads taped to her hooves and sides? Each of the characters has a very distinct voice. They're unique and quirky and I enjoyed spending time with them. One reservation about this charmingly entertaining read is that the ending is a little too easy, a little too deus ex machina although as it stands, we could certainly see a future trip to Woefield Farm for more. While Juby raises some interesting issues, the green movement and sustainability, alcoholism, politics, and dysfunctional family dynamics, she doesn't dig too deeply into them here, keeping the novel breezy and light, goofy and generous, tenderhearted and warm. I have to admit that I turned the last page of this one with a big grin on my face. I liked it. I really, really liked it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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I wanted to like this book. I thought the concept seemed promising. But I didn't love it. First of all, even though it's advertised as an adult book, I think it reads as YA. It's not surprising, considering the author mainly writes YA. And I don't mind YA, but that's when I know I'm reading YA. For instance, it's hard to relate to an adult character who acts and talks like a teenager. The main character, Prudence, was really poorly written; if she was a teenager, it would have been fine. Further, the two main male characters were...boring? I'm not sure. The only segments I really enjoyed reading were the child's segments (again, not surprisingly), and her story was left with such a poor ending that it was hard to believe this was the book. Sara (the girl) is exploring some sort of way to feel better about her terrible home life, and that includes searching for religion. Unfortunately, I don't feel like this storyline ended believably or satisfactorily. I finished it, so I guess that's something. But I can't in good conscience recommend this to anyone.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Normally, I would begin by telling you a bit about the plot and what I though would follow....But - I cannot wait 'til the end of the post to tell you how much I ADORED this book. Susan Juby is a Canadian author who has previously written award winning young adult novels, but Home to Woefield is her first book written specifically for adults. Prudence Burns is a young, idealistic New Yorker, determined to do the right thing for the earth - she makes her own bread (even hand milling the ancient grains) recycles everything, shares a car service, buys from local co-ops and even has a worm composter."I don't know about you, but for me there came that moment during every visit to the farmers' market when I wanted more. I wanted to be the one standing behind the folding table, a truck of organic produce at my back, displaying my heirloom tomatoes and baby potatoes. I want to be the one handing over glossy sheaves of swiss chard at a reasonable price and talking knowledgeably about my mushroom patch. The one looking cold and somewhat chapped about the face and hands, yet more alive than anyone else in unfashionable rubber boots and dirty pants."Her enthusiasm has not rubbed off on her live in boyfriend Leo. In fact, those worms were the final straw. When she gets a call telling her that she has inherited a farm from her only remaining relative, Great Uncle Harold (whom she's never met) she packs up and moves to Vancouver Island, Canada. She'll be able to make those dreams come true!Dreams and reality collide when she arrives. Farm is an enthusiastic term for what she finds, and apparently she has inherited a 'negative asset' according to the bank. But our Prue is eternally optimistic..."The property was spectacular. So rugged and untouched. All that wonderful grass. The beauty of stray stones in a field." "A farm is nothing but limitless potential, waiting to be uncovered." She has also inherited Earl, a sometime handyman who has lived on the property for 35 years. Her planned strawberry social memorial to Uncle Harold introduces her to a few more of the neighbours. Seth from across the way ends up asking if she has a room to rent. His mother wants him out of the house as he's been in hiding since that incident with the drama club, writing celebrity gossip and heavy metal blogs from the confines of his basement bedroom. And he might have a wee bit of a drinking problem. Prudence takes him in in exchange for chore duty. And during that strawberry social she also meets Sara's mother, who asks if she would mind building a coop and housing her daughter's chickens - they just can't keep them in their residential neighbourhood any longer. They'll pay of course - so the answer is yes.And these are the residents of Woefield Farm. The story is told in chapters from the viewpoint of each of the characters. All four of them leap off the page - each voice is funny, unique and sometimes heartbreaking. Eleven year old Sara especially grabbed me. There are lots of problems at home and she spends more and more time at the farm, trying to live her life according the the guidelines and principles of the Junior Poultry Club - Getting Started, Take Action and Leaders Are Even Tempered.Prudence is unfailingly optimistic. Her view is sunny when there isn't a ray in sight. Really, she's the kind of person you would love to know and have as a friend. And someone you just can't help cheering for. Juby is a very funny woman. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud while reading, but Prudence's forays into Home Depot, and a disastrous attempt at sheep shearing and tmany other scenes had me laughing out loud at work - prompting more than one read aloud session to my co workers.Four diverse personalities band together to save the farm and in the process - save themselves. Home to Woefield is a hilarious, heartwarming, heartbreaking, heartfelt heck of a read. I was going at breakneck pace and had to put the book down and save the final 50 pages. I just didn't want it to end. Maybe...we'll hear more from the farm in the future? What do you think Susan?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
There is a trend right now for adults to read YA literature. Being the cantakerous reader than I am, I still don't read much of it, not because I think it's of a lesser quality but because most of the premises I've seen haven't appealed to me much. This first novel targeted at adults by YA author Susan Juby appealed to me greatly though. The idea of a native New Yorker with back to the land ambitions inheriting a scrubby farm in Canada and moving there to try her hand at farming sounds like just my type of book. I've read a number of these in memoir form but I hadn't yet come across this story in fiction until now. Just let me say that I enjoyed this book so much that I fully intend to go back and read Juby's YA works (and maybe even pass them along to the YA reader in my house if they are as entertaining as this book was).Told in four narrative voices, that of Prudence, who has inherited the farm and its seemingly insurmountable debts from her late uncle; Sara, the eleven year old girl who moves her chickens to Woefield Farm; Earl, the cranky septugenarian farm hand who came with the farm; and Seth, the twenty-one year old alcoholic blogger from across the road who moves in when his mother kicks him out. It is indeed a woeful and motley crew of characters but they are completely hilarious and charming. Prudence is delightfully naive, certain she can make the farm a paying proposition based on her extensive reading of "moving and starting over" memoirs. She is uber-positive and incredibly motivated, if as innocent of the necessities involved with farm life as a newborn chick. She is indeed a cheerful force to be reckoned with.To start with, Prudence must face the dire financial situation on the farm that she is so determined will fulfill her dream of living sustainably. In order to buy a little time, she decides to hoodwink the bank by telling them that she is opening the farm up as a treatment center, using the alcoholic Seth as a dummy client. And somehow she pulls it off but then she is landed with a local mother desperate for help with her sullen, drug-abusing teenaged daughter in tow as well as the local writing group who has learned that Prudence is a published author (the fact that her novel was poorly received and almost unknown seems to dissuade the group about her skills not at all). As Prudence juggles the situations she's created for herself, jaded Earl goes about the farm trying to build the things that Prudence's visions require, Seth fights his demons, and Sara stoically endures a demoralizing home life.The plot is not overly complicated and the main focus of the story is on building relationships more so than building a productive farm. Watching the four very disparate characters come together is great fun and having the differing perspectives on each disaster as it befalls them is wonderful. Where else can so many characters riff on a sheep wearing maxi-pads taped to her hooves and sides? Each of the characters has a very distinct voice. They're unique and quirky and I enjoyed spending time with them. One reservation about this charmingly entertaining read is that the ending is a little too easy, a little too deus ex machina although as it stands, we could certainly see a future trip to Woefield Farm for more. While Juby raises some interesting issues, the green movement and sustainability, alcoholism, politics, and dysfunctional family dynamics, she doesn't dig too deeply into them here, keeping the novel breezy and light, goofy and generous, tenderhearted and warm. I have to admit that I turned the last page of this one with a big grin on my face. I liked it. I really, really liked it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Everyone who has ever tried to grow something should read this book. Besides the frustrations of farming without experience and and the best tools, this book is about a group of unique characters who are all funny in their way. I did laugh out loud all through this book and felt sorry for the people's misfortunes. It had a little of the flavor of the movie 'Waking Ned Devine'. This assortment of characters did not seem to fit together at firt yet they all began to love each other in different ways. So, I make my last recommendation, any one who is human should read this book!I won 'Home to Woefield' from GoodReads. My review is completlely my opinion.
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Susan Juby tells the tale of a start-up farm from the perspective of four people, some more realistic that others. Many of these characters feel more like charicatures - one dimensional stereotypes of what a city hipster or a rural hillbilly is like. The one character that I found particilarly believable was Sara - a child - perhaps because Juby typically writes for young adults and can more effectively depict children in her writing than adults and their more complex and nuanced personalities.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Prudence is full of great ideas. New York City just hasn't provided the best atmosphere for some of her more ambitious environmental projects. Just when she needs it, however, a second chance comes to her in the form of her recently deceased uncle's farm on Vancouver Island. Full of hope and plans she heads off to Woefield Farm only to discover that it's acres of scrub land, with nothing but one half sheared sheep and the bank is talking about foreclosure. Though not the idyllic country life she had in mind Prudence is no less determined to make Woefield Farm a success. Her first step is to assemble a team (assemble here is a loose term which means “to take whatever help that falls into your lap”) made up of Ed, her uncle's old banjo playing, incredibly grumpy farm hand, Seth the alcoholic, heavy metal blogger from across the street and Sara, an eleven year old member of the Poultry Appreciation Club. A motley crew to be sure, but together they all pitch in an try to keep Woefield going.Of all the wonderful characters in this book I found Ed and Sara to be the most charming and relatable. I found them both scrappy and resilient, despite the family problems they're coping with. Sara in particular, frequently made me smile. At only eleven years old she has more determination than I do now at twenty two. I also found myself wishing there was a Poultry Appreciation Club in my town when I was younger! All the characters were great and they had great chemistry despite their differences.I also want to give Juby credit for the setting. Sometimes author's really over-do it when their story takes place in a small town. As someone who is from a small town I really appreciate when we're not represented as backwaters, oblivious hicks. Susan Juby did a great job of describing the quirks of small town people without giving in to those common stereotypes.This book was a lot of fun to read. I find when I pick up books that take place in Canadian rural small towns, they're often heavy handed and a little depressing. That's sort of what I expected when I started this book. Instead I got some hilarious characters, taking part in some memorable moments, in a charming setting. It was very light but at the same time had some strong moral themes and idea which kept it from being flaky. Though not a serious book by any means this was still a wonderful and thoughtful read.
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