Friday, March 17, 2017

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Image result for fifty acres and a poodle

I wouldn't dare tell you too much about this book lest I spoil any of your fun in reading it. I will only say it may already be my favorite book of 2017. And I don't just mean my favorite in the first three months of this year, but for the entire year. 

Fifty Acres and a Poodle recounts the true adventures of author Jeanne Marie Laskas's first year owning Sweetwater Farm in Pennsylvania. (Cue fifty acres.) If, like Ms. Laskas, you have ever wanted to shake the city sidewalk dust off your shoes and move to the country, this is the book for you. Even if you already live in the country, this is the book for you. If you love animals, of any sort, this is the book for you. (Cue the poodle.)

I laughed. I wept. I sighed. I simply adored this book.

As one who carries a bit of a romantic notion about living on a farm (see my post on sheep shopping), this tale struck an even funnier chord in me as I certainly identified with what she calls 2-D notions of the Green Acres life.

She writes:

We bought scenery. We bought a postcard. We bought green hills and a pond blooming with lilies a la Monet. We bought a creaky old barn leaning in the wind a la Wyeth. We bought the most beautiful picture we could possibly find.

We bought 2-D. Not 3-D. It did not enter my consciousness that the three-dimensional version of this thing was included with the package. Because how could it be in my consciousness? When would it have had the opportunity to get in? Chaos never announces itself, never advertises. Who would buy chaos?

And therein lies the tale. Her attempts to make friends with the chaos. 

Adding to the mix are Alex her partner, Bob the cat, Betty the dog that looks like a movie star, Marley the prone-to-car sickness Standard Poodle, plus sheep, groundhogs, deer and other creatures of the forest. But, I have already told you too much.

Ms. Laskas has a writing style that tickled my fancy. She writes not only about what is happening but her thoughts on what is happening and her thoughts on those thoughts. I found her to be a most witty storyteller.

There are two more books about her life on Sweetwater Farm and I can hardly wait to read what happens next.

Thanks to Kathy Johnson at Catching Happiness for introducing me to Jeanne Marie Laskas and her world. This book certainly lifted my spirits.

What about you? Do you harbor secret dreams of living on a farm? Do you have a favorite 'life in the country' book? 


  1. I'm so glad you liked this book! It is one of my all-time favorites. I've read all her follow up books, too, and they are delightful, but 50 Acres is still my favorite. Your post about it just lifted my spirits :).

    1. Kathy, I had never heard of Jeanne Marie you recommended this book. Wow! She writes so clearly and with such wit. I almost felt like her writing speed and my reading speed were matched. If that makes any sense. I guess to say I loved it. I am almost leery of reading the others in case they disappoint but I'll take your word for it that they are just as entertaining. Thanks again!

    2. Her other books are more focused on her family life (she and her husband adopted two girls from China) and did enjoy them (especially Growing Girls which I just read recently), 50 Acres really resonated with me for some reason, possibly because when I first read it I was enamored of buying land and having a mini-farm myself. I'm not so enamored of the idea anymore :), but I still love the book.

    3. Hi, Kathy. I agree. The whole farm thing is something I would much rather read about now! How interesting that they adopted the two girls. Big hearts.