Review: The Orchard: a memoir

Why I picked it: I enjoy memoirs. I read them knowing they are one persons memories made into a story that's readable.

Synopsis: 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.

Type: Memoir

Quick Take: Did you know this was an Oprah book?   

I have read several reviews, some people have strong opinions on the farming practices noted in the memoir.  The apple orchard was a secondary storyline for me, I actually couldn't spend much time on the farming practices... I may never eat again.  Another reason to eat organic as much as possible!

This isn't just a story about a woman, strong in-laws who are disappointed most of the time, rejection, cancer, and a husband who's pulled in two directions... it's a story of hope.  The author's life journey to building a life for herself, she found a way to persevere even though her journey was tough at times.

Three questions from the Oprah reading guide

How might the lack of adult guidance in the author's childhood have laid the groundwork for her decision to get married so quickly? I believe that for most people, how we are raised and events that happen to us can create situations.  Longing for love and acceptance, and getting this from some one can feel like an escape path to a happier life.  The author makes a quick decision, she quickly learns there are consequences.  She surely wasn't welcomed into his family... her husband left her alone to the point were she was left wondering 'why' a lot.

The author is never quite sure why Adrian married her. Was it passive-aggressive behavior on his part? Did he want to annoy his mother? Was he attracted to someone who represented the freedom he could never have? Or was it something else? I believe all of these questions are true statements.  We never learn exactly why Adrian acted like he did throughout most of the story, I like to think he saw something he wasn't able to have (he had to carry on his family legacy even if he didn't want to).  This does keep the reader's interest through the book.

Do you have a favorite apple? I love Braeburn from New Zealand, they taste completely different than the ones grown in the US.

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library (audio)

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