Author Darlene Foster has a lot of books under her belt and recently has added yet another one to the ever growing list. You Can Take the Girl From the Prairie is a delightful collection of essays about growing up on her beloved Canadian prairie. I couldn’t help thinking of my friend,Audrey, who blogs over at Minnesota Prairie Roots. Audrey, like Darlene, grew up on the prairie and her best work, in my humble option, is when she writes of her memories of living on the prairie as a child. There is just something about the way that both of these authors relate their long ago experiences that moves the reader.
Darlene’s book is short – a mere 12 chapters along with dedication and introduction and is easily picked up to read one selection at a time. Each essay is a glimpse into life on the Canadian prairie and illuminates the childhood that Darlene so fondly remembers. It is no wonder – it seems like a pretty idyllic time. Although some of the essays deal with the tougher issues in life, the magic of the prairie and the love of family is what shines through on every page.
If I had to pick my favorite chapter, it would have to be Prize Winner. In this chapter Darlene tells the story of her mom’s late in life pregnancy and how it affected her as a 16 year old young woman. While I did not experience this in my own life, I could definitely identify with the part about sewing and how Darlene had to pick up the slack when it was obvious her mom was not going to be able to complete her special outfit for a Valentine’s Day dance. Darlene took it upon herself to complete the outfit as her mom was away having her brother and even made a sweet bunting for the baby to be bundled in for the trip home from the hospital. My own mother taught me to sew and I have many memories of time spent with her learning the basics. Darlene’s memories jogged my own and that was a sweet discovery.
Darlene has been a good friend for many years when we connected through another blogger who had a traveling aardvark. Yes, you read that correctly. Andy the Aardvark made the rounds and ever since we got to “meet” virtually I have been a huge fan of Darlene. (Sadly the pictures of Andy did not all get transferred when I updated my blog years ago.) Please check out her website here where you can find links to all of her great books including her popular and ever growing Amanda series. It might be the perfect series for the young person in your life. You can read my review here.