When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review time! Nine Mile Bridge by Helen Hamlin

Here's something I bet you didn't know about me... I love books. So much, I've decided that when I finish a book - which isn't once a week and certainly not once a year, I'm going to let you know what I thought of it.

I've created a new page to keep track of the books I enjoy so I can share with you - it's called The Book Nook. Take a peek!

I've recently fallen in love with books written locally and for the most part published by Islandport Press. Located right around the corner from me in Yarmouth, Maine I believe that I am helping the economy around me by buying books that were written and printed practically in my back yard.

Nine Mile Bridge was written by Helen Hamlin and originally published by W.W. Norton & Company Incorporated in 1945. Islandport Press re-published in 2005 with edits and again in 2006 with a few more.

The book is about Helen in her younger years and how she spent three of them living deep in the Maine woods, first as a teacher and then as a wife to a fish and game warden. The title comes from the last location she lived, on the St. John River near Nine Mile Bridge.

One has to remember the timing of the story - in the  late 1930's to early 1940's - it's funny to hear her talk about clothing style, community dances and crank phones, Sears and Robuck catalogs and ordering items through the mail, running out of batteries and not being able to stay in touch with the world. The way they lived - hunting, fishing, trapping - from the land, is unheard of now. It's nice to stroll down memory lane.

Ironically, my grandfather was a registered Maine Guide and I can remember the tales he told of fishing and hunting for monster fish and game. I used to think he drank too much vodka, but this book helped put things into perspective (sorry Grampie!). They discuss catching their limit in Brook trout in minutes and catching lunker Togue in lakes untouched by most men at that time.

I also truly enjoyed her sense of humor when talking about the French-Canadians that they encountered on a regular basis. She expertly wrote exactly as they would sound (and trust me, I've known alot of French-Canadians in my time!):

            "Jees Crise, Curlee, dat damned dog she's not hugly. De busted ting he's eat Fred
             Mullen's pants. Crise hi laff. Fred Mullen she run like de hell. Got no pant behind!"

When I finished, I was in awe that Helen and Curlee didn't kill each other or go crazy with cabin fever. To spend a winter in Maine with alot of snow is bad enough now, back then with no electricity and five to six foot snowdrifts and not even a passable road to get out if needed? Oh man, I would hurt someone. :)

The book is a smart and funny read and I anticipate this will not be my only run-through. Click this link to enter Islandport's Nine Mile Bridge page, complete with a little story behind the book and some rave reviews.


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