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Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby
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Woefield Poultry Collective (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Susan Juby

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1443483,153 (3.7)8
Member:Speedicut
Title:Woefield Poultry Collective
Authors:Susan Juby
Info:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2011), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:humor, British Columbia, R, 2012

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Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The author wrote this book as a tribute to "Cold Comfort Farm" written in1932. I also really enjoyed "Cold Comfort Farm".
However, something new has been added- vulgarity!
Prudence Burns from New York, inherited this farm from her uncle, but it was in debt. She cheerfully sets about to turn things around, using those at hand- Earl- a 70 plus banjo-playing foreman, Seth- an alcoholic teenager from across the street, Sarah-an 11-year girl looking for a home for herself and her chickens.
I loved Prudences' determination and positive attitude.
The story is told in short chapters, alternating the narrator. That is well-done. And there is lots of humour in the book. However, the gross language took away from my enjoyment. ( )
  bettyroche | Mar 16, 2014 |
I read Home to Woefield because I enjoyed the author's Alice series and I enjoyed this too. It makes me think of a current Canadian version of Cold Comfort Farm - brisk efficient naive urbanite moves to the failing family farm and turns it around. It's almost, but not quite, too sugary and optimistic to take. Written from the perspectives of the four main characters. Mildly humorous, pokes gentle fun at Prudence's passion for sustainable farming and refusal to be discouraged by harsh reality. Seth's alcohol abuse and Earl and Sara's family troubles are treated gently and Woefield's residents's problems are all solved by the end of the book. A couple of asides - I find the alternate title, The Woefield Poultry Collective, too twee for words, and Cedar, Vancouver Island is a real place - I was reading this book on the ferry from Duke Point which is very close by. ( )
  mandyo | Aug 29, 2013 |
Prudence wants to save the world from carbon emissions and global warming. She recycles and only eats organic food; she puts up solar panels (or has her boyfriend do it). The boyfriend is not as much into the green thing; in fact, it drives him crazy. After he leaves, Prudence learns that her uncle has passed on and left her his farm. Clearly, this is fate. She will go out to a beautiful farm and have a booming organic farm going before a few months are up. Of course, she's never seen Woefield, which is falling apart, has rocky soil and is already in debt. Her eccentric help might even make things more difficult: Earl, the gruff farm hand, Seth, an alcoholic with an allergy to work and sunlight, and Sara, a young girl obsessed with chickens and the rapture.

Home to Woefield is the story of a ragtag group of crazy folks trying to figure out how best to live their lives. The story is told from the perspectives of all four of the people who come to view Woefield as home. Juby really made each voice sound unique. A lot of authors try to use multiple perspectives and fail, because each character sounds exactly the same, but not Juby. She also made me feel interest in each of the people, even though, when I think about it, I didn't particularly like any of them all that much. That takes talent.

The group's misadventures are definitely humorous. Four people who know nothing about sheep trying to take care of a depressed one can result in some serious hijinks. That poor sheep. Of course, there's also Alec Baldwin the rooster (seriously, if Alec Baldwin were a rooster, this is how he would be...don't tell me you're not intrigued).

This is a quick, fun read. Juby does the group of misfits plot perfectly. Home to Woefield came out this week, so check for it at your local bookstore or library. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Originally reviewed at http://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.ca/2012/06/woefield-poultry-collective....

Whether reading the hardcopy or ebook or listening to the audiobook of The Woefield Poultry Collective, ensure that you are in a secure location where your outbursts (n.b. plural) will not disturb others, because they will be frequent and they will be hearty. Luckily they won't be prolonged because there isn't time to laugh endlessly - the next chortle is imminent. So you will end up laughing, looking around to make sure you haven't caught anyone's attention, continue reading and then laugh again. Ah, it's a vicious cycle. But, if you need to explain, just tell your audience to read Susan Juby's The Woefield Poultry Collective to fully comprehend the nature of your lack of self-control and note that it had been shortlisted for the 2012 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Though an apartment-dwelling New Yorker, Prudence Burns lives by the principles and practices of environmental responsibility. She has vermi-composting with red wigglers; she installed solar panels; she passionately sorts her waste for recycling; she buys organic, free-trade and local; and her only foray into writing, a YA novel titled, "The Sun Doesn't Always Forgive," focuses on the consequences of global warming. Luckily for her, just as her relationship with the pompous Leo goes down the tubes and she considers her options for a career, she inherits Woefield Farm from her great uncle, Harold, her only relative and one she'd never met.

Convinced her dream has come true, Prudence embraces the opportunity to become a farmer and packs herself up to move to Woefield Farm, a scrubby piece of land off the coast of B.C. With her passion for challenges and all things earthly, Prudence sees the limitless potential in the overgrown, rocky land with its old house, burned down barn, Bertie, the half-sheared sheep, and the elderly curmudgeon, Earl, who lives at the cabin on the property.

With her energetic charm, Prudence has no problems drawing people to her vision and to helping out, usually without them even realizing they've been snagged by her. First, there's Hugh the cabbie who drops her off at Woefield. Then it's Earl, the cantankerous banjo playing, TV documentary fan, who was her uncle's right-hand man, who first sticks around to protect and advise Prudence but ultimately grows to care, in his own way, for her passionate ways. Then, Seth, an alcoholic, heavy metal and celebrity gossip blogger, who has secluded himself for a few years (there was an unfortunate incident at the high school) until his mother kicks him out, joins the farm. Finally, eleven-year-old Junior Poultry Fancier, Sara Spratt, becomes a regular fixture at Woefield after Mrs. Spratt pays to have a coop built there to house her daughter's chickens.

Prudence learns from the bank that Woefield is essentially a negative asset and she is responsible for paying the mortgage, a home equity loan and long-overdue taxes and bills. But, far from discouraged, Prudence finds the means to make Woefield the farm of her dreams, armed only with her limitless energy, menagerie of sidekicks, and positive attitude.

The Woefield Poultry Collective has been acclaimed as adult humour but I believe that teens in high school would delight in Prudence's story, especially as Susan Juby's skills are founded in YA literature. Prudence may be a twenty-something character, but her voice and those of Susan Juby's other characters are so distinctive and familiar that teens will revel in their humour and odd perspectives. Seth, from whom expletives pour like beer, may be twenty-one but he's still living in his high school years since having never graduated or achieved closure after the "incident" at the school play. Sara may be smart enough to manage in a dysfunctional family and share her knowledge of poultry practices, but she is still a child, naive enough to misunderstand Seth's drunkedness, her dad's "misappropriateness" at the bank (which cost him his job) and Earl's swearing and lack of initiative. With Susan Juby's evocative text, the narrators on the audiobook of The Woefield Poultry Collective do not just read the words, they become their characters. Listen to a preview of it at Audible.com to share in the flavour that is Earl.

While Prudence may seem far too upbeat and environmentally-conscious for some readers, I know a few persons just like her, and the virtue that is Prudence's is that she doesn't preach or tell others how to live their lives. Even when Seth is falling down drunk, Prudence tries to find a way to help rather than just berate him. She's just the embodiment of the old adage, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Prudence makes lemonade with sparkly ice-cubes made of well water. ( )
  HelenKubiw | Aug 6, 2012 |
Oddly, wonderfully funny. It made me want to go get a shed full of chickens. Why will none of my relatives leave me a farm. Honestly! ( )
  Dabble58 | Jan 4, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)

Susan Juby's first adult novel makes you want more....
It's tough not to call The Woefield Poultry Collective "heartwarming. " It's that rare book that makes you feel good after reading it, without it ever being "good for you." So, yes -it's heartwarming. And yes, it's quirky. And, to be honest, I never could resist a book with a chicken on the cover. My only complaint might be that I wanted to hang out with these characters a little longer...
Susan Juby certainly gives us many reasons to keep breathing, not least the hope that another of her novels will quickly make it to a bookstore near us
 
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For James
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I don't know about you, but for me there came that moment during every visit to the farmers' market when I wanted more.
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From Amazon Ca :Product Description
Woefield Farm is a sprawling thirty acres of scrub land, complete with dilapidated buildings and one halfsheared, lonely sheep named Bertie. It’s “run”—in the loosest possible sense of the word—by Prudence Burns, an energetic, well-intentioned twenty-something New Yorker full of backto- the-land ideals, but without an iota of related skills or experience. Prudence, who inherited the farm from her uncle, soon discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on Woefield Farm, which means that Prudence has to turn things around, fast. But fear not! She’ll be assisted by Earl, a spry seventy-something, banjo-playing foreman with a distrust of newfangled ideas and a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrityblogging boy-next-door, who hasn’t left the house since a scandal with his high-school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a highly organized eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prizewinning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow soon to be christened Alec Baldwin.
Full of offbeat charm and characters you won’t soon forget, The Woefield Poultry Collective is a heartwarming novel about learning how to take on a challenge, facing your fears, and finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. With alternating narratives, Susan Juby shows how a team of misfits can find acceptance and success, even with—and sometimes in spite of—their highly unorthodox approach.

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"Prudence Burns, a well-intentioned New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, just inherited Woefield Farm--thirty acres of scrubland, dilapidated buildings, and one half-sheared sheep. But the bank is about to foreclose, so Prudence must turn things around fast!"--p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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