Friday, September 30, 2011

A Memoir of Love, Family, Farming and Poison

The Orchard is the story of a street-smart city girl who must adapt to a new life on an apple farm after she falls in love with Adrian Curtis, the golden boy of a prominent local family whose lives and orchards seem to be cursed. Married after only three months, young Theresa finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband's family as an outsider, she slowly learns for herself about the isolated world of farming, pesticides, environmental destruction, and death, even as she falls more deeply in love with her husband, a man she at first hardly knew and the land that has been in his family for generations. She becomes a reluctant player in their attempt to keep the codling moth from destroying the orchard, but she and Adrian eventually come to know that their efforts will not only fail but will ultimately take an irreparable toll.

Jackie says:
"Theresa Weir is a best selling author, both under her own name and under the nom de plume Anne Frasier. however, this book is very, very different from all of her others.  This time, she's telling us about her early life, her marriage and the apple farm she raised her family on.  This book is unvarnished and honest, and from what some interviews I've read, I'd say that it was almost as difficult to write as it was to live.  There were certainly happy moments, but there were plenty of horrifying ones as well.  Can you imagine living somewhere where every day you had the garlicky taste of herbicide in your mouth from the breeze coming through the window, or brushing off the dust of pesticide from your clothes after walking through the orchard with your children?  Weir tells the tale of her family, but also of the large family run apple based business that her husband's family had been sustained by for generations.  She makes the point again and again that farming isn't what your grandparents or great grandparents did anymore--now it's big business, big competition and plenty of politics.   She admits that at the writing of this book, she had not stepped foot on the farm in 15 years, so she can't say what has changed, but knowing what she knows, it is extremely unlikely that anything has swung toward the better.  This is an engrossing book on many levels, and a brave one.  It sheds a bright and unwavering light on the secrets of culture, family, relationships and farming that will be impossible to forget."

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