As my A to Z Challenge theme is focused on Maine, I thought it would be fun to do a book review on a book that has a connection to Maine. Fortunately for me, Sarah Smiley released her latest book, “Got Here As Soon As I Could; Discovering The Way Life Should Be” on April 1st. It’s almost like she knew I would need something for the letter R in my A to Z Challenge. Isn’t it just like a fellow Mainer to do something so nice!
I have not read any of her previous books, but one of my good friends absolutely loved her earlier book “Dinner with the Smileys” so I figured I was in good hands. This latest book is a compilation of articles from her Syndicated Column. Sarah moved to Maine from Florida about six years ago and she immediately bonded with the state. That’s something I can appreciate. While I didn’t relocate here, I have a great passion for my home state and enjoy how she tells stories that really highlight some of the wonderful things about Maine.
The description of the book from the Amazon website reads,
“I’m not from Maine… but I got here as soon as I could.
Six years ago, a family from Florida fell in love with “the way life should be,” and although
they’ve never seen a moose, the Smileys intend to stay. Because say what you will about the cold winters and the messy mud season, there is no other place to raise a kid than in the great state of Maine.
Got Here As Soon As I Could is a collection of syndicated columnist Sarah Smiley’s
most-loved columns about raising a family in Maine. In these 100 essays, readers will laugh, cry and nod their head “yes” as they remember a time when all of America was as simple and beautiful as it still is today in Vacationland.”
Since I’m a novice at the whole book review thing, I’m going to pick my favorite story from each section of the book and talk a little bit about why I connected to it.
Welcome to Maine | Ice Fishing
This is a great fish out of water story. Sorry, couldn’t resist the bad pun. It is about their first time learning how to ice fish in Maine. Sarah paints a vivid picture of their afternoon on the pond learning about this winter activity. I myself have never gone ice fishing, but enjoy watching the fishing shacks start to pop on the lake during winter. They have a serene quality. But, in reality, if I ever tried it myself, I think I’d be a little closer to the Smileys than a seasoned pro although probably without the pudding.
The Way Life Is | Waking the Senses
This is the story that I connected with the most out of the entire book because it talks about something that I have always felt to be true. Maine does have long, cold and often unrelenting winters but because of winter we have a true appreciation for the other seasons. When spring hits, we’re practically giddy. And, by the time summer finally arrives? Heaven! We earned those warm summer days and we never take them for granted. We know we only get so many of them each summer and we get the most from every drop of sunshine.
Raising Kinds in Maine | Etchings on the Family Table
Sarah inherited her parents old wooden farm table. Before she got it, her father sanded and re-finished it for her erasing all the marks and carvings that had been added to it during her own childhood. Initially, she tried to keep it free from new marks and dents, but eventually it started to show the wear of life again. I too have a farm table although not inherited. It’s one of the first things we bought as a married couple. It’s made from reclaimed antique pine. It’s a soft wood and easily shows marks. My husband is always quick to throw a book under the girls as they do their homework, or a coaster under a cold glass before it gets placed on the table. While I do try to keep it in good shape too, I probably care a little bit less than my husband. Like Sarah, I like the etchings that show the life that has been lived around the table.
Baseball | First Day of Little League
I have no connection to baseball. Sure, I’ve headed down to Fenway for a game here and there. We’ve also taken advantage of having the Sea Dogs AA team right in Portland and have done some family outings there too. Great experiences all. But, baseball has not had the same impact on my life that it has had on Sarah’s. What this article is really focused on though are those milestone moments in our children’s lives that get seared on our brains and never leave. I have a my share of those memories like the day my youngest asked if she could call me Mom instead of Mommy. A moment forever in my heart as I lost the last of my babies.
Marriage and Other Things | Wedding Band Found by Mainers
Sarah shares a great story about how some local Mainers went out of their way to find her husband’s wedding band that he had lost many months earlier while swimming at a favorite spot near Mt. Katahdin. It’s a great story about the kindness of strangers and how Mainers are willing to go out of their way to help one another. I do feel that is true of Mainers, but I also believe kindness to be universal. The reason I connected to this last story actually has nothing to do with Maine. I remember going to Costa Rica years ago in the days of 35 mm cameras and bags full of accessories. We had taken a transfer from La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano to Monteverde. The transfer included a boat ride and I accidentally left my camera bag and all my equipment on the boat. I didn’t notice until we arrived at our destination after a few additional transfers. We were only staying in Monteverde a couple of days and I figured I would never see the equipment again, but somehow they found my bag and got it to me fully intact before we left for our next stop. I was beyond grateful.
Sarah is a wonderful writer and knows how to capture the humor and emotion from ordinary, every day life. The stories cover a range of time periods and are culled from her column so there is some overlap in a few of them. But, together they paint a beautiful picture of what life and raising a family is like in Maine. I can relate. I got back here as soon as I could.
|things to know|
|Book Title||Got Here As Soon As I Could: Discovering the Way Life Should Be|
|Number of Pages||301|
|Publisher||Down East Books, 2016|
|Amazon Website||Amazon Book Listing|
|Favorite ♥||Waking the Senses|
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2016. I will be posting new content every day except Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Life in Maine, and each post will in some way relate to Maine. There are over 1500 other bloggers participating in the challenge. Click HERE to learn more.