Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream

Summary: Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."

In this rollicking and hilarious memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and strike out for rural Michigan–a place with fewer people than in their former spinning class. There, Wade discovers the simple life isn’t so simple. Battling blizzards, bloodthirsty critters, and nosy neighbors equipped with night-vision goggles, Wade and his spirit, sanity, relationship, and Kenneth Cole pointy-toed boots are sorely tested with humorous and humiliating frequency. And though he never does learn where his well water actually comes from or how to survive without Kashi cereal, he does discover some things in the woods outside his knotty-pine cottage in Saugatuck, Michigan, that he always dreamed of but never imagined he’d find–happiness and a home.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream is a sidesplitting and heartwarming look at taking a risk, fulfilling a dream, and finding a home–with very thick and very dark curtains. -- Three Rivers Press

I think I might have mentioned that my reading time has really fallen by the wayside these past few weeks. I've been swamped with holiday preparations, plus both kids have been home... do I really need to say more? So I decided that it was the perfect time to pick up AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM: MISADVENTURES IN SEARCH OF THE SIMPLE LIFE by Wade Rouse. This memoir is a collection of adventures (or misadventures as the title states) that the author and his partner experience when they decide to leave the big city and move to rural Michigan. I found this book to be laugh-out-loud funny and highly entertaining -- and exactly what I needed to read right now.

I admit that the premise of Mr. Rouse's story was appealing to me. He decided to quit his job, move to a very small and very rural town, and lead a "simpler" life... kind of like Thoreau. My husband and I kind of did the same thing when we left Washington, DC and moved to Central PA, but I'm the first to say that it was no where near what Mr. Rouse and his partner Gary did when they upped and moved to the country. I could no sooner imagine living without my Starbucks and shopping, then well....they could have. I thought I might be able to relate a little bit, but nope! Not even close! Mr. Rouse's experiences were absolutely, positively side-splitting. There were even a few times that I think I might have the raccoon story.

I do think Mr. Rouse and his partner's experiences were funny; however, Mr. Rouse's writing actually brought this book to the next level for me. His voice is smart, witty, and occasionally a bit snarky. In addition, he has a unique ability to make fun of himself. But what I really appreciated about this book was how these adventures (or misadventures) actually changed Mr. Rouse's life. It's pretty obvious that living in the country would drastically affect a man; however, I loved how it improved his writing, his relationship with Gary, and even his perspective on life. While the overall tone of the book was very funny, there were also some poignant and heartwarming parts that definitely touched my heart.

AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM is a hilarious book but also one that just might make you a little bit about your own life and your priorities. This book should so be made into a movie! Highly recommended!

Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book.


Sheila Deeth said...

Really sounds fun. Thanks for the introduction.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've heard very good things about this book. And I can relate to what you are saying about living by a Starbucks, etc. but loving the other kind of life too. Before I was married, I would move back and forth, back and forth! In fact, I would love to do that now, but Jim thinks it's crazy, for some insane reason...

Kaye said...

Hey,Julie, just popping in to wish you and your family a Happy New Year. May 2011 be filled with good books, good friends, good health and much happiness.

Beth Hoffman said...

SOLD! Loved this review, Julie. I simply must read this book!

Happy New Year to you and yours. I'm looking forward to seeing you at BEA!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a book for me! This is exactly the kind of book I need right now. Fantastic review!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I really love Wade Rouse for his voice -- I think I would read about him doing most anything anywhere. This does seem like a good book for this hurried time of year. Happy New year, Julie! xo