Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

I was attracted to this book initially by the title (Life of Brian, anyone?) and also by a review by Jenny at Home Is Where You Start From. The fact that it was on tape was added incentive, since my ancient minivan lacks a CD player.

Overall, I have to give this book a qualified thumbs-up. If I could edit out a few overly graphic details of the characters' love lives and throw in a bit more concern for the sacrament of marriage, it would be a positively wonderful book indeed! Oh, and I should mention that it was full of the best Irish swearing, which fortunately doesn't sound as offensive as American swearing--more like a dialect--yet, still is swearing just the same. So, best that it was my van book and not my kitchen book, which is more likely to be overheard by little (and not-so-little) ears.

But the characters, the pacing, the quirkiness (reminiscent of Cold Comfort Farm, I kept thinking) are delightful. Since I finished it, I keep wanting to go back to the dairy and cheese-making farm of Killarney, County Cork--where all the cows are called Maria and the three cats are named Jesus, Mary and All the Saints. I want to chat with Correy and Fee, the old cheese-making geniuses, and the pregnant, vegetarian, Sound of Music-singing dairymaids who appear there looking for jobs when there's nowhere else to turn. I'll never look at a Stilton or an aged Cheddar in the same way again.

Not only that, but the book has a powerfully life-affirming message, at the end, that will catch you by surprise and move you to tears. I just loved that part--wish I could say more without spoiling it! Too bad there wasn't a similarly marriage-affirming one, or even one positive portrayal of a marriage anywhere in the story, although I suppose the ending is an attempt to show a happy common-law one.

For lack of a better ending to this post, and because "the goodness of the true pun is in the direct ratio of its intolerability" (Edgar Allan Poe), I have to say: Enjoy, because this one's pretty cheesy.

Sorry, everyone.

A lurking pun is the worst pun, one the offender has been waiting to spring on you. ~Harry Mahtar

I'm really sorry.

If you trip over a pun in your speaking it's not so bad but to intentionally jump on one is a true offense. ~Graycie Harmon

Please, forgive me.

Puns are the gag hand buzzers of conversation. It hurts a bit but everyone gets a good laugh out of it. ~Grey Livingston



For more book reviews--pun-less, I'm sure--head over to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books.

Pun quotes from here.


Laura said...

I've never heard of this, but I'll look for it now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I wanted to say that I like the idea of your site, too. I'm at the "going in circles" time of life, too. :-)

Framed said...

I think the title is wonderful and the books sounds good too. Thanks for your review.

Meredith said...

Thanks for the recommendation--that sounds right up my alley!

Jenny in Ca said...

Hen, I'm glad you liked the book! Pretty much how I felt about it all....I kept wishing I could go visit everyone on the farm, and the ending had me smiling while I sobbed. The beginning had too much detail about horrible things, I could have done without that...I guess I'm naive, I thought or assumed a wedding at the end, maybe I just make up my own right endings in my head!

the puns...groan!