Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life by Brian Brett

"Born with a rare genetic malfunction that made me middle-sexed, Kallmann's syndrome, I was a troubled and difficult left-handed child, regularly thrashed by my teachers who wanted to make me right-handed, though there was a lot more help I could have used. One teacher used to give me the strap because I'd look out the window and weep at the beauty of the world -- bad form for a twelve-year-old 'boy' -- and he tried to beat the beauty and the weeping out of me. 'Be a man!' he said, as the leather strap hit my girlie-boy's outstretched hand."

That misguided teacher did not succeed in whipping the beauty out of Canadian poet Brian Brett, nor his rebellious attitude. "I question all authority and I rise on a summer morning to the haunting song of a thrush, live with the birds of the day, and sleep to the random vocalizations of the night."

Trauma Farm is Brett's warm, witty and graceful memoir of his past 18 years, which have been spent living on a small mixed farm on Salt Spring Island with his wife. He recounts one anecdote after another: joyful births, tragic deaths and many amusing incidents in between.

"The most I have learned is that living in these moments, close to the land, is good, and behaving with as much common decency as I can muster is also good." A book that satisfies my soul.


avisannschild said...

Lindy, thanks for drawing my attention to your review. I think I need to read this book!

Lindy said...

Be sure to let me know what you think after you've read it. One of my sisters (who usually likes what I like) found Trauma Farm boring. It may be because she lives on a pretty lively small farm herself.