Thursday, November 14, 2013

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole

It's not too often that I get something to review for myself, but this last review of the year for the Schoolhouse Review Crew is just that, a book for me. At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a three volume series by Franklin Sanders. 

Nothing That Eats is the first book of the series. It follows Franklin's journey as he leaves the city life and brings his wife, Susan, and their 7 children to life in the country. They start by leaving Memphis, and eventually find their way to Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee. He gives the history behind the name of the town and gives an analogy to the cross of Christ and grace. That starts the tone of the book as it is filled with stories of faith and love. The title comes from Susan's admonition that they acquire "nothing that eats," but life changes drastically as they gain dogs, chickens, horses, cows, pigs, ducks, and sheep!

The books are comprised of a collection of letters that Franklin wrote over 17 years for the readers of his newsletter, The Moneychanger. He says, "Together monthly letters paint a picture, but only as life does, adding experience, wisdom, and faith along the way. Life happens; later you figure out what it means." This book is filled with short snippets and each portion is independent, which makes it easy to grab and read even when you have only a little time. 

The book reads more like a journal. Franklin is honest and makes you feel like he is speaking directly to you in his letters. He shares their struggles as they adjust to life on a farm, relates anecdotes that happen along the way, and saturates the pages with their testimonies of their faith. He and his family love history and participate in Civil War reenactments. The book speaks often of the Civil War from the Southern perspective. There was a little too much of this portion for my taste. Though I do enjoy learning history, there was a bit much of his opinion of "Northern Aggression." As I said though, he is honest and isn't putting on a show. 

What first drew me to this book was their desire to live-off-the-land. Years ago, I never would have thought I'd want that for myself, but as time has gone on, I realize how much of a dream it's become. My husband and I talk about purchasing a piece of land, instead of our little home in the city. I'd love to plant a large garden and have room for my children to run. And I want chickens! I, who doesn't like any animal that I'd have to touch, want chickens. I want to get farther away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I want the quiet. I want the peace. I want a slower lifestyle. I love the idea of a multi-generational farm. While At Home in Dogwood Mudhole was written during preparations for Y2K (or TEOTWAWKI, The End of The World As We Know It, as Sanders likes to call it), I believe it's still a good idea to be prepared for the unknown.   

Many parts of the book are supposed to be funny, but I just didn't get it, I guess. Maybe it was the lack of fluidity from the short sections, or maybe it was the deep Southern thinking, or maybe it's just me, but I was left confused at times I knew it was supposed to be humorous. It just wasn't my writing style, I suppose.

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole: Nothing That Eats costs $29.95 for the printed version and $16.95 for the kindle. You can also read a sample chapter to get a feel for yourself. Then even offer a money-back-guarantee:   

If you don't laugh, cry, gasp, hug your spouse or jump up and down, we'll refund your money and you can keep the book to use as a door stop.


Not everyone has the same opinion. To get an idea of what other thought about this book, you can click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. 

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1 comment:

  1. On behalf of the Sanders family, thank you for taking the time to read the book and post your review. It sounds like you didn't connect with the story the way most readers have, but that's okay. We understand the book's format and contents won't appeal to everyone. We would like to let your readers know they can get free shipping (for up to 2 books, to US addresses only) by using the discount code TOSFREE at checkout. Thanks again, and God bless!