Thursday, April 7, 2011

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

We read The Pioneer Woman's "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" together...well not literally together, but about the same time. If we read together no reading would actually be going on - we would be talking - just ask Mr. Shaw our 8th grade English teacher, he would tell you!
** The reivew does contain spoilers if that is important to you**

Aaaah love! I've never been one for romance novels - just isn't my thing, but I have to admit that reading about love makes you reflect more on your own. Reading about how PW & MM met made me reflect on mine & Mr. S's first meeting and all those warm, fuzzy, feelings came up inside. Granted within the first few pages I think PW had used every way to say "weak in the knees" & that got a bit much, but the emotions were still there and that is what I think her point was. I've read a few reviews from this book and there are some readers that are slamming her writing "this is a great example of why bloggers shouldn't become book writers", but I didn't choose to read BHTTW because I thought it would take me to new literary heights - I read it because I'm a fan of the blog and I actually like her writing. It may not be grammatically correct, but she writes the way that she talks (I've been told I do that too) and I think that is fine and fun. Her honesty and humor really come out and that is why I think this book and her blog has done so well. She's fun. She's your friend. I like it.
To go back to her honesty a bit there were a few parts where I almost said "Amen" outloud. She hit the nail on the emotional head of two things for me.
#1. Her parents' divorce. I actually wrote her a Thank you e-mail for that one. My parents divorced last year (2010) and I was 28 years old. I felt like the only girl in the world whose parents decided to get divorced in my twenties instead of my teens (I really knew deep down that I wasn't, but you know how you feel alone when you are going through something hard). It was nice to read that I wasn't the only one. My feelings were justified and I echo Ree with her sentiment, "I couldn't purport to know everything about my parents' marriage, who did what to whom and when. But my parents had been happy. We'd been a family. My Dad had worked hard, my mom had raised four children, and at a time when they should have been reveling in the good work they'd done and really enjoying each other, my mom decided she was through. Deep down, I knew that nothing in life was black or white. I knew that if you weighed one side against the other throughout the whole course of their marriage, it would probably come out a wash."
#2. Was when she was adjusting to new motherhood and describing the first night at home and the baby not sleeping (oooh those days of ZERO sleep) again I echo her description, "Before the sun came up, I'd gotten up six more times, each time thinking it had to be the last, and if it wasn't, it might actually kill me." I laughed because I can laugh instead of cry at that now.
All in all it was a FUN read. A book that you would want to pick up for a weekend afternoon read, or a beach read (it has short chapters so you can put it down and pick it up easy) or an evening read right before bed.
Apparently, like every book that is out for at least five minutes, they are making it into a movie. If you want to read more on that check it out in the Tulsa World Newspaper online article.

Initially, I didn't really feel strongly about reading BHTTW; I figured that I knew the gist of it from PW's website.  After I met her in February, though, I changed my mind and decided that I had to read it.  Once it finally arrived, I devoured it.  Now, please keep in mind that I majored in English and am familiar with some of the most celebrated and cerebral books out there; however, this doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a book just for the fun of it!  (Although at one time, I really feared it would.)  I thoroughly enjoyed BHTTW.  Is it destined to forever change modern literature?  No.  Is it entertaining?  YES!  I had a lot of fun while reading it and laughed out loud several times.  I also had the added bonus of having met her and being able to imagine her voice as the narrator while I read. :)
PW does spend a lot of time describing MM's eyes, voice, and muscles, and as Michelle said, PW does seem to go on and on about being weak in the knees, having a fluttering heart, blushing uncontrollably when MM was near, etc.  Some of that did get a little tiresome, but I also appreciated her honesty about other things.  My parents are not divorced and I have never had to deal with a crying baby in the middle of the night, but there are other things I could relate to.  After describing a particularly embarrassing moment, she says, "...more often than not, I was a mess.  Embarrassing, clumsy things happened to me with some degree of regularity; this hadn't been the first time and it sure wouldn't be the last.  The truth was, despite my best efforts to appear normal and put together on the outside, I'd always felt more like one of the weird kids."  I relate to that statement more than you know.  In fact, most of us probably really relate to it, but few of us are willing to be that brave.  Most of the time, I feel like an embarrassing moment waiting to happen (I'm thinking of a specific moment right now, and my mother-in-law is chuckling if she's reading this), and even though I'm 27 and should just embrace my weirdness, it is still nice to know that Ree -- beautiful, polished, famous Ree -- feels the same way.  It gives me courage.  And like PW, I've been so blessed to find someone who loves and supports me through all of my weirdness...and even finds my quirks cute.
I also really appreciated the way Ree handled the drastic change in her life plans.  She was originally planning to move to Chicago and go to law school, and then she ended up getting married and moving to a ranch in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma.  Her life is so different from anything she'd ever imagined, but it's also better than she would have planned for herself.  Although not as drastic, my life has also gone a different direction from what I'd planned, and I'm learning to see that maybe it really will be better in the long run than what I would have chosen.
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is many stories in one -- a coming-of-age story, a comedy, an adventure, a family analysis, a love story.  I think the think that struck me most about it is that it's just someone's life story, but for PW and MM, it's the greatest story ever told; hopefully we all feel that our own lives make up the greatest story ever told, too.

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