I love PW. It’s kind of like Entertainment Weekly for the book world. When I worked in book publishing, I loved reading the little reviews and getting author gossip. So it was great delight that I read a review of Farm City in PW’s gilded pages. And it’s a really nice review. Blushingly nice. Here it is, or read it here, to get the sense of PW.
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
Novella Carpenter. Penguin Press, $25.95 (276p) ISBN
In this utterly enchanting book, food writer Carpenter chronicles with grace and generosity her experiences as an “urban farmer.” With her boyfriend Bill’s help, her squatter’s vegetable garden in one of the worst parts of the Bay Area evolved into further adventures in bee and poultry keeping in the desire for such staples as home-harvested honey, eggs and home-raised meat. The built-in difficulties also required dealing with the expected noise and mess as well as interference both human and animal. When one turkey survived to see, so to speak, its way to the Thanksgiving table, the success spurred Carpenter to rabbitry and a monthlong plan to eat from her own garden. Consistently drawing on her Idaho ranch roots and determined even in the face of bodily danger, her ambitions led to ownership and care of a brace of pigs straight out of . She chronicles the animals’ slaughter with grace and sensitivity, their cooking and consumption with a gastronome’s passion, and elegantly folds in riches like urban farming history. Her way with narrative and details, like the oddly poetic names of chicken and watermelon breeds, gives her memoir an Annie Dillard lyricism, but it’s the juxtaposition of the farming life with inner-city grit that elevates it to the realm of the magical. (June)