Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Shepherd's Life

The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient LandscapeThe Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A shepherd in the Lake District of England started tweeting about his daily life when he got a smart phone several years ago. Now he has thousands of followers and has published two books about his life. This book is divided into seasons appropriate for a shepherd's seasonal life. While Rebanks refuses to play along with stereotype of the romantic lonely shepherd, a la Wordsworth, he does share moments of beauty as well as the cruel realities that he encounters on the farm and in the surrounding mountains.

"...the combination of wind and deep snow is a killer... If you've ever seen ewes lying dead behind walls after the snow has cleared, or seen lambs lying dead where they were born, you will never love snow so innocently again."

The author's time at Oxford (how he ends up there is a great story!) was quite funny, and the least expected part of the story for me.

“He asked what I made of the other students, so I told him. They were OK, but they were all very similar; they struggled to have different opinions because they’d never failed at anything or been nobodies, and they thought they would always win. But this isn’t most people’s experience of life. He asked me what could be done about it. I told him the answer was to send them all out for a year to do some dead-end job like working in a chicken-processing plant or spreading muck with a tractor. It would do more good than a gap year in Peru. He laughed and thought this tremendously witty. It wasn’t meant to be funny.”

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