Outskirts Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/19)
“City Slicker’s Guide to Country Living” by Becky Condon takes us on a journey with the Prince family, who have chosen to build their own home in the country where they hope to raise their daughter with freedom and the option to learn about nature and farming. Little do they know, living in the south the rules are whatever one makes to suit their purpose.
Having just built our first home I certainly related to the frustration of contractors showing up when they want, prejudices and crooked government officials. The main characters Don and Betty are former military pilots and as such are very organized and scrupulous about details. However, they find that no one wants to build their house as they want it and the realtor is stunned that they don’t want to use his lawyer to close.
The Sherman’s, the closest neighbors, are a strange bunch to put it nicely. Mrs. Sherman is evasive in her account of working for her husband as his bookkeeper and continually misquotes what she does. She appears distrustful of Betty Prince while at the same time makes derogatory remarks to her. Their philosophy is “We in the country. We don’t pay attention to property lines.” The Sherman’s feel it is their right to come on to the Prince’s property and use their water, dispose of the trash and build what they want. I found this quite funny. I had a neighbor that on a daily basis while walking her dog would come right up to our backscreen porch and peer in. Never said a word just looked inside. It was unnerving… Given the theme of “we don’t pay attention to property lines or rules” the author did an excellent job of describing the overall attitudes portrayed by the characters.
The story is funny, and sometimes shocking, with regards to “rights” and how individuals justify them. Although “City Slicker’s Guide to Country Living” is lengthy, I found it quite entertaining. Most of the characters were well developed and provided authenticity to the overall tone of the story. The detailed writing propels the reader forward into the country life and atmosphere. I found myself right there fighting the Prince’s battles with them!
If you want a fun read that will entertain, “City Slicker’s Guide to Country Living” by Becky Condon will transport you to another place. I recommend this hilarious, often bizarre read.