by Ellen Stimson
Here’s a chatty memoir about moving from St. Louis to rural Vermont. Plot points include ruining a local business and adjusting to New England culture and life. I simply hated it.
I nearly didn’t finish the book because I found the story too frustrating to be entertaining. I found Ms. Stimson’s footnotes irritating and unfunny. All of her disastrous ‘hilarious’ anecdotes were due to her ignorance and general incompetence. As a New Englander, I empathized with the townspeople who hated her, which I doubt was the narrative’s aim. She called the cops because cows were blocking the road to her hair salon, okay? What really irked me was the constant romanticism and fetishizing of our culture. (To the point that she wrote a book about it, essentially lauding her journey as challenging and admirable.) Her romanticization -to the point of financial and social blindness- was ultimately her business’ undoing.
If you connect with Ms. Stimson’s character, then you’ll enjoy the story and its girlfriend-y conversationalist vibe. I, however, did not.