Drawing on the history of his own family, Pulitzer Prize-winner Hamlin Garland chronicles the experiences of a generation. A Son of the Middle Border, Garland's bittersweet narrative of growing up on Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota farms, captures in vivid, moving detail the stories of the thousands of courageous and optimistic Americans who sought new and prosperous lives on the mid-western frontier and discovered not only the grandeur of the plains but the immense toll nature demands from those who try to tame the land.
(P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
If you're interested in the plights and joys of homesteaders to the Mid-West in the 1860-1890 timeframe, this is your book. It's rather like the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, except that series was writen for (or at least is marketed to) children. "A Son of the Middle Border" is a book for adults. If you're an adult who enjoyed the Wilder books, I think you'll enjoy this book, also. The primary difference is that Hamlin Garland strives to give a more realistic picture of frontier hardships. His travels carry him from South Central Wisconsin (West Salem, La Crosse, Onalaska, Red Wing, etc.) thru Iowa, and into the Dakotas, though as an adult he travels back east to Boston. He also provides some interesting anecdotes about life in Chicago, New York, and New England in the late 19th Century.
The only problem I had with the book was the narration - it took some while to get used to the narrator's voice. It is clear, precise, and quite effective, but it was also a bit too refined, or urban. I imagined the speaker, a son of the frontier, speaking with a deeper, more rural voice. But that's just me. Others might think this narrator was a perfect choice. As I said, he did a great job, and it's not his fault that his voice and accent didn't match the one I projected on to the author in my imagination.
Overall, a very enjoyable listen.
I found listenting to the overly verbose description of every little thing that happened in Galvin's life tiring and not particularly enjoyable. This would be a good story if it wasn't so overlavishingly descriptive. It got a little boring after a while.
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