Friday, October 23, 2009

The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare - REVIEWED

The Fence My Father Built is a quirky story about even quirkier people. The main character, Muri, is a single mom with two children, out of work and looking for answers. Her father has died and her aunt has asked her to help sort out his legal affairs. She travels to the dessert of central Oregon and finds her aunt and uncle living in a shack with a bunch of pot-bellied pigs with a fence made of old oven doors. The fence, built by her father before he succumbed to liver disease, is meant to protect something valuable, but Muri has no idea what that is. Her search for answers leads her deep into the heart of a very eclectic group of folks who have little more than their faith left to them in life. Muri must decide for herself whether this faith is real and whether or not it actually makes a difference for anyone.

The Fence My Father Built is not a book that particularly appealed to me. Muri came off as a sort of academic snob, and the whole city-girl-came-to-the-country idea actually got on my nerves. The folks of Murkee, Oregon were made out to be rather simple-minded overly zealous folks, when I think they were just doing the best they could under the circumstances. Muri’s children were disrespectful and smart mouthed the entire novel, and the fact that the daughter placed herself in a dangerous situation was no surprise whatsoever. Overall, this story just didn’t ring true. Everything seemed over exaggerated and dramatic. The spiritual elements seemed very “I’m a seeker” oriented, and the “spiritual awakening” didn’t seem based on repentance and faith but rather on a bargain made in desperation.

If you like father-daughter stories (after all, Muri is trying to find her roots throughout the story because her dad abandoned her), if you like struggling parent stories, if you like drama - then try this one on for size. Maybe this just hit me in the wrong mood or something, but I never connected with this story at all. The spiritual element was forced and the relationship between Muri and her children was just sad.

Visit the Abingdon Press website to learn more about this novel and make up your own mind about Muri Pond's story.

1 comment:

Carole said...

Thanks for your honest review and good insight into this book, Kim. I do like family drama, though, so it's now on my wish list.