Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)

This book was a gift from my long lost friend Rebecca who I reconnected with on
Facebook earlier this year. She came to visit us this summer and brought this book with her from London. I had vaguely heard of the book, but never read it.
Apparently it is a well known satirical comedy, and has been adapted many times for the stage and radio. I read the introduction with great interest, becoming rather intrigued by the book and the author’s background. The book is essentially a parody of the romantic rural novel popular at the time (eg novels by D.H. Lawrence).

The story follows sensible young Flora Poste, who, having lost both her parents at the age of 19, decides to go live with relatives. But not just any relatives – she tries her best to figure out which set of relatives could most use “improving”, as she loves nothing better than fixing others’ lives. With the inhabitants of Cold Comfort Farm she has found the mother lode of people needing all sorts of lifestyle advice!

Cold Comfort Farm has been dominated for years by reclusive Aunt Ada, who stays in her room but nevertheless manages to keep everyone on the farm under her thumb by constantly reminding them of her childhood trauma: “I saw something nasty in the
woodshed”. With the arrival of Flora, events are set in motion that will soon change the balance of power. With gusto she sets about improving just about anyone she can get her hands on, with wafts of “What Not to Wear”-style good intentioned and practical advice left and right. No stone is left unturned and she even applies herself to improving the life of the farm’s bull, Big Business.

An enjoyable read, even though I am sure much of the very British humor went over my head!


Hector Macdonald said...

Hi Amy

I’d like to invite you to write about your favorite books at www.bookdrum.com, where you can add information, images, video, music and links to illustrate and explore the books.

Right now, we're running a $3,000 Tournament and we'll be offering contract work to the best entries.

Best wishes

Hector Macdonald
Editor, Book Drum

Charley said...

I hope to read this book soon. I want to know what's in that woodshed!