Wednesday, September 30, 2015

XBR4OF #6: Twenty Miles From a Match

Xyra's Book Review for Older Followers

Twenty Miles From a Match

by Sarah E. Olds


  • I'm putting this in the older follower file because the woman telling the story is an adult. However, I think anyone 11 and older could read this memoir.
  • If you don't normally like biographies, give this one a try. It's like hearing stories from a funny family member.

The Review

Twenty Miles From A Match: Homesteading In Western NevadaTwenty Miles From A Match: Homesteading In Western Nevada by Sarah E. Olds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really don't look at memoirs, autobiographies, or biographies that much. Some are great and interesting, while others plod along or seem self-important. Twenty Miles From a Match did NOT fall into the plodding/self important category.

In Twenty Miles From a Match I felt as if I was sitting on the porch with a glass of iced tea listening to a family friend reminisce about all the things that led to inside jokes that bring those in the know to hysterics with just one word or phrase. (In half of my family something like "pudding phone" works as an example.)

If you have read any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books, then you can understand a little bit about what went on when the Olds family homesteaded near Reno, NV. It was not pleasant at first or easy, but the family worked together not only surviving hardships but also building a comfortable lifestyle and working ranch. Oh, and by comfortable I do not mean to draw a picture of the Ewings on South Fork. No way! I'm talking having 7 rooms instead of 2 and an automobile instead of a wagon to get to town - which even with a car was still a 3-day endeavor.

The Olds' family story is one of inspiration, perseverance, determination, ingenuity, and faith. While Sarah tells us a lot of good things that happened, she did not forget the bad. Nor did she leave out the less than pleasant chores she had to take on when in need - her son was a trapper and when he was sick she had to check and clear the lines. So if you are not okay reading about hunting or trapping and killing animals (even for survival) this probably isn't a story for you. However, the scenes are presented in a such a way you could skip a page here and there.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and reading about life before paved roads and indoor plumbing. Makes me realize the details people forget about when they say they'd rather live during this and such era instead of now. Yep, I'd like to see them without their Internet, plumbing, electricity, radiant heat, air conditioning and making a three-day trek driving a wagon over rutted paths and mountains to buy supplies. :)

Great book. Give it a try. I bet you enjoy listening to Sarah.

Happy reading!