Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Fence My Father Built
The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare is the story of a woman's search for her past.
When she was a small child Muri's parents divorced. Her mother won custody of Muri and moved her away from her father, who she never saw again. After his death, Muri arrives at his home having just gone through a divorce of her own. A school librarian, she is downsized out of her job, and packs up her two kids and heads out to make a new start and to try to help the other relatives her father left behind.
She travels to the depths of Oregon to the small town her father Joseph had settled in. What she finds there is the complete opposite of the life she led in Portland. She pulls up to an old, rickety trailer with additions sticking out in every direction and various types of junk everywhere. Her Aunt Lutie and Uncle Tiny and a slew of pigs are the family she finds. And then she notices the fence her father build - out of oven doors.
She also walks into the middle of a water/land dispute that was left unsettled when Joseph passed away. Linc Jackson, the man on the other side of the dispute, is a leading member of the small community and has most of the town on his side. But Muri is willing to fight for what her father felt was important.
The story is mostly written from Muri's point of view but there are sections from Joseph's journal that he wrote for her. The divorce from her mother was bitter and her mother left Muri with the impression that Joseph didn't want or love her. Reading Joseph's journal, Muri finds how Joseph really felt.
Muri also encounters a search for God. Joseph was a strong Christian and wrote in his journal of his desire that Muri would know his God. Aunt Lutie is also a strong Christian and she tries to help Muri find her way to God.
Along the way Muri has to deal with her pre-teen son Truman and her teen daughter Nova - neither of whom are thrilled to be leaving Portland for the home of relatives they don't know.
This was a very good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly.