Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments.
Trauma Farm by Brian Brett – Trauma Farm was a 2009 book of the year in the Times Literary Supplement and the Globe & Mail, and winner of Writers’ Trust Canadian Non-Fiction Prize.
For this issue of SSI Reads, I chose a book by Salt Spring author Brian Brett. I had met Brian a few times but hadn’t read this title. When it won the Writers’ Trust award as one of the best books in Canada, I was curious to read it. I was happily surprised when it turned out not to be a heavy, literary read but rather a wonderfully engaging, humourous account of life on a small farm on our island.
The appropriate sub title of this book is ‘A Rebel History of Rural Life’. Brett takes the reader along on a 24 hour journey that encompasses early morning rituals at his home, daily chores and adventures with his kids, flashbacks that include a lot of history and information on Salt Spring, afternoon walks, care of pigs and garlic, evening chores and unexpected nighttime visitors.
The book is a mix of autobiography, Salt Spring lore and stories of life on a farm. I laughed aloud at some of the antics of Brett’s friends and animals. Through his vivid text I saw him chasing cougars at night in nothing but gumboots.
I learned about eccentric neighbours, about the trials and tribulations of keeping farm regulations, of keeping poultry and tending to heritage apple trees.
In this book, Brett is the perfect storyteller, bringing rural issues to life. A fun read and perfect gift for any Salt Springer or visitor to our island. See more online.
Margriet Ruurs is the Salt Spring author of over 30 books for children. Her latest title is School Days Around The World, Kids Can Press.