RICHARD reads & reviews: WOEFIELD POULTRY COLLECTIVE, Susan Juby

Funny, entertaining, much in the style one would attribute to Stephen Leacock or even Terry Fallis.

A terrific “vacation read!”

WOEFIELD POULTRY COLLECTIVE
Susan Juby

Synopsis
Woefield Farm is a sprawling thirty acres of scrubland, complete with dilapidated buildings and one half-sheared, lonely sheep named Bertie. It’s “run”—in the loosest possible sense of the word—by Prudence Burns, an energetic, well-intentioned 20-something New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, but without an iota of related skills or experience. Prudence, who inherited the farm from her uncle, soon discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on the property, which means that she has to turn things around, fast. But fear not! She’ll be assisted by Earl, a spry 70-something, banjo-playing foreman, with a distrust of newfangled ideas and a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrity-blogging guy-next-door, who hasn’t left the house since a scandal with his high-school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a highly organized eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow soon to be christened Alec Baldwin.

Richard writes

A three-ring circus complete with a young ringmaster, some old clowns, some young ones and some who are just circus acts starring in their own rings.

Poultry Collective is a fun read, an entertaining bit of humorous fluff that will tickle your funny bone but also jar your factualization. The cast of characters not only attract you to the story but re-energize it whenever there is a lull in the action. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions and feelings, humour, ribaldry, sadness, melancholy, hope and even tension.

Prudence Burns inherits a ‘farm,’ so labelled very, very loosely. She is a Manhattanite with no farming or farm management skills, unless you call her adherence to organic foods experience with agriculture and animal husbandry. But she inherits a dilapidated, run down farm which she is determined to resurrect, as if it ever was a successful operation and restore its fullest potential.

Prudence’s support team, a cast of characters who look like they are the least likely to assist her in achieving her hopes and dreams, a young alcoholic, an old codger who plays the banjo, quite well at that, and a pre-teen who is dedicated to raising ribbon winning chickens. This cast of comedic characters get supplanted by numerous others, each unique in persona and attributes.

Set somewhere in rural USA, on the west coast as there are references to Vancouver Island, Canada. Poultry collective cockamamie collection of dreamers and idealists who coalesce with ridiculous and unachievable goals in this story.

Author Juby hits the right notes in her comedic tale. She weaves a plot into which every reader is drawn as a supporter. You cheer for every act, every actor. A little bluegrass music, banjoes and brotherhood, rednecks and roughnecks, chicks and chickens, it’s all there and fun reading to boot.

Recommendation
An entertaining, engaging and funny bit of distraction.

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