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

Right?

***

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

Pun quotes from here.

5 comments:

Laura said...

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

writer2b 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!