* * * Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Best Second Book. * * *
Being born the daughter of surgeons does not make you a surgeon, but what about being the daughter of a farmer? What happens when childhood and on-the-job training are one in the same? In Jennifer Neves's inquisitive and humorous collection of essays about growing up and raising a family in rural Maine, there is little doubt that memories and the stories they inspire continue to guide and shape her throughout life. This collection is both an investigation into the authenticity of family lore and a meditation on the nature of memory itself, how it changes over time and how we are changed by it.
When I began this project, I imagined myself setting out to capture the essence of my early life, the bones of family lore, and the values that shaped who I am and who I will ultimately become. As I wrote, some stories moved easily from start to finish. There was a path and events traveled upon it as though they were blind to the possibility of anything else. Then, there were some stories that seemed to grind as stones caught in a gear, that turned on themselves, tangled, and frustrated. Through this process, I have come to understand that to appreciate the fullness of any one person's journey is to acknowledge there is no one story to describe it. In fact, there is no number of stories that do us humans justice. We are infinitely complicated creatures, connected to our own stories, but also to the places where our stories intersect with others-family, friends, and even strangers. It's easy to lose patience with this mess, to give up believing that, in the end, the stories we tell and retell might bring us closer to knowing our true selves. But maybe this idea of seeking resolution in any form is too tidy, and more important, too little to ask of good stories.