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Hens Dancing (2002)

Hens Dancing (2002)
3.85 of 5 Votes: 3
038572182X (ISBN13: 9780385721820)
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Hens Dancing (2002)
Hens Dancing (2002)

About book: I loved this treasure of a book with its quirky title and journal style story-telling. The book covers one year of Venetia Summers' life beginning with the day she believes her husband is having an affair after ten years, 2 young sons, and a daughter soon to be born. Veneitia simply doesn't have the energy or interest to even care even if it is Valentine's Day.Sure enough, The Beauty (there is no other name for this charming and adorable baby daughter) is just 8 months old and the marriage is over. Seems that Venetia was right and husband Charles has moved on to marry his masseuse that doesn't include his children unless the notion strikes him. Venetia is left in the small country home (she gave up the London life when she married Charles) with her only job as writing brochures and leaflets for various businesses.Now, the plot seems over-done, but what I loved about this one is that there is no chest-beating, hair-pulling, spiteful actions, searching for a new man to love, etc. Nope, Venetia is fine with her chickens and pigs and riotous garden and crumbling home and dirty laundry....she knows her priorities--her children. And while her parenting skills are, well, unorthodox to say the least, she loves them fiercely and makes lemonade out of lemons. Her support system is quirky--but always there for her and ready to celebrate at the drop of a hat.I laughed out loud so many times at the antics of this entire loveable group of family/friends. So many books written in journal style just don't allow the reader to get a good visual of incidents or a good sense of those beyond the person writing the journal, but Venetia's (Barker's) ability to write it all down and pull me into the story was refreshing. I didn't miss a thing.I loved this book so much that I jumped up and down in the library (I used to work there, so they know how excited I can get) when I found the book (Summertime) that picks up where this one left off. I don't know whether to save it for a long, rainy day or delve right into now!

Diary of a Brit, a la Bridget Jones, but this narrator is a recently divorced mum of three, living in the country. It's a cute story, but lacks much of a plot, just meandering through her year. The shortfall of this type of novel is that you have to patch together the story from the bits and pieces that the narrator gives you. It wouldn't be logical for her to give sweeping descriptions of her home for example, or detailed narrative of her past, because one doesn't write that in a journal. I had a hard time building an image of what her little mini-farm looks like, for instance, with little bits & pieces revealed as she works on different parts. Venetia (aforementioned narrator) is a bit of a mess, having kicked out her philandering husband while pregnant with their third child, and now trying to raise her children alone and work as a freelance writer. Much of this work bit was very vague -- mentioned here and there, mostly as she failed to get anything done. Her cast of characters includes a very eccentric, but dependable mother, a rather shiftless younger brother, and various friends making appearances periodically. One friend, Lila, is a pretentious hippie with pathetic parenting skills, and I really couldn't understand why Venetia would want to be friends with her. Her not-very-obvious love interest is a carpenter who redoes her bathroom then sticks around, making himself part of the family and getting jealous any time another man shows any interest in Venetia. He's likeable, but the relationship is just very strange. Considering that the description of Summertime describes him as her boyfriend, I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that they apparently get together at the end of the book. My main point is that this book was just vague. It was an enjoyable, light trip through her year, with various hilarious situations arising. However, and perhaps this is a result of all the wine and other alcohol drunk through out the year, most of it has a blurry feeling.
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Bridget Jones in the country as dirt doyenne. The character records her life in diary entries in first person but drops her personal pronoun. Will not belabor the point but seems odd at first go. Become a just divorced parent, cope with three children, a dog, a cat, and several farm animals plus a large garden to keep active. Some parts are lively and well portrayed but some episodes seem like they were grafted on. The story portrayal is often as chaotic as the characters lives. The one consistent thread is the linear time line. Certainly the best part is the accuracy of the gardening experience restoring calm after the stress of dealing with the very demanding job of rearing children while working. I liked the horrified response she gave to her exs expanding corporation capitalizing on grief over the loss of a beloved pet by making pop up coffin toys.
I found Barker's "Summertime" on the shelf at the library and adored the novel. Because I liked that book so much, I checked out Barker's other novel, "Hens Dancing." It turns out this story preceeds "Summertime." I love this novel even more. Venetia (the heroine) is absolutely lovable and has the greatest insights to motherhood and life in general. I think you really need to be a mother to truly appreciate the humor and truth found in the novel. If you do read this book, check out a Georgette Heyer regency novel as well. It will be both a fun read as well as give you insight into Venetia's obsession with all things Heyer. This is the kind of book I want all of my friends to read. So read it already.
Eredetileg: regény egy évről szól, napló formában, származási hely: Anglia, főhős: 30-as évei közepén járó nő, s éppen ezért elég sokan Bridget Joneshoz hasonlítják. Talán van benne valami, mert kicsit tényleg olyan, mintha az eredeti szingliős tovább lépett volna Raffaela Barker újságíró volt, akárcsak Helen Fielding, (egy újabb hasonlóság) s nagyon jól megy neki ez a napló stílus. Ráadásul ezek a csajok angol humorban verhetetlenek.Venetia Summers, a regény elbeszélőjének élete is valahogy ilyen. Elvált, egyedül neveli három gyerekét, két iskolás fiát és a Szépség névre hallgató kislányát, miközben vidéki háza körül tevékenykedik, kertet gondoz, állatokat nevel, van távmunkája és igyekszik megfelelni az iskolában elvárt anya képnek. Persze nem minden sikerül úgy, ahogy tervezik, legyen az nyaralás, piknik, gombaszedés, karácsonyi buli, de bár többször sikerülnek a dolgok katasztrofálisra, valahol mindig minden bajban van valami jó is. S míg változnak az évszakok felvonulnak Venetia életének egyéb szereplői, excentrikus anyja, a vasárnapi apaként nem mindig jól teljesítő vállalkozó, újranősült férj, a hippi barátnő és az ezermester, jóképű David, akire mindig lehet számítani. Valamint kutyák, macskák, csirkék és malacok.Leginkább azért tetszett a regény, mert olyan volt, mintha megint ott lettem volna: a vidéki Angliában. Bár a család, ahol annak idején au pairkedtem teljes volt, de akadt 3 gyerek, kicsit őrült anyuka, aki imádta a kertjét, az állatokat és rengeteg szomorú, vicces dolog történt, de legfőképp a lényeg az volt, hogy szerették egymást.
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