Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild by Novella Carpenter

index.aspxIn Farm City, Novella Carpenter showed us her life as a counter-culture innovator farming a vacant lot in Oakland, California without permission. There was clearing broken glass and other rubble as well as soil improvement on her lengthy task list. Not satisfied to raise only crops, she acquired small varieties of livestock, such as goats, rabbits, and pigs. Of course, pigs don’t stay small, and because of her limited capital, she resorted to dumpster diving in alleys behind restaurants to help feed the pigs. In her new memoir Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild, Carpenter tells a very personal story about trying to find her sometimes-missing father, which also explains how she became an urban farmer.

“Like mother like daughter” or “like father like daughter”? Carpenter reports how she spent several years trying to determine from where she got her values and why she acts the way she does. In the course of the story, she wants to sit down and talk with her backwoods-wandering dad, who is not the sitting or talking type. He also does not often keep appointments.

Besides Carpenter and her father, the other major characters in the story are:

  • her mother, who left her father in the 1970s and has an extensive garden and orchard
  • her sister, who shared many wild backwoods adventures as well as juvenile shoplifting with the author
  • her boyfriend, a mechanic who embraces the garden and barter economy as much as the author

Gone Feral is quirky story with people whose behavior differs diverges from the expected. While it is quite entertaining, it also questions and reaffirms family values, though some readers may not see that. With offbeat memoirs so popular, it should have a large and happy audience. – Review by Rick

One comment on “Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild by Novella Carpenter

  1. Sharon Rawlette
    December 10, 2014

    Thanks for pointing me to not one but two new memoirs that are right up my alley!

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2014 by in Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction.
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