Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book Review: The $64 Tomato


Author: William Alexander

Pages: 265

Genre: Non Fiction/Memoir

Personal Rating: 3/5

From the back cover:
Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids.

When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a cost-benefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.
I waited a long time for this book. I had it on my wishlist at paperback swap. I was number 1 (finally) and then somehow accidentally moved it to my reminder list and got shifted to spot 24. So I waited some more. Perhaps that explains my disappointment with this book. Or maybe reading about someone gardening just isn't is funny as or as entertaining as I thought it would be. The book had its moments and it was decent overall, I was just expecting something far greater. I'd heard raves about this book. It came recommended from so many different people online...it had to be good. It was fair. It was a decent book. That's it. Just OK, not bad, not great, just OK. The best part of the book to me is still the review on the front cover from the New York Times Book Review "Gardening as Extreme Sport." I will also say the the section of Superchuck the groundhog is pretty funny. This book just didn't do it for me, it may do it for you. I wouldn't say stay away from it, it just wasn't all I was hoping it would be.

5 comments:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

That has happened to me before...many times, in fact. Not the book swap thing, but the build up for a book just to find out the actual reading act wasn't nearly as exciting as visioned.

Too bad...

:(

bethany said...

uhg, that is a bummer!! Sorry about that. I am sorry to because I just bought it, but maybe because now I know you didn't love it, I will be more apt to like it since it won't have the build up...does that make any sense??? haha.

Maw Books said...

A memoir about growing a tomato? It's a very odd premise. I have Brandywines in this year. I love vegetable gardens!

Jeane said...

Well, it might amuse me, since I'm gardening for the first time this year! Are you putting it back on Paperback Swap, then?

Peter said...

Hi, I found this post while looking for a light-hearted memoir to read over my summer break, but maybe this isn't the one.

If you're still interested in reading a funny memoir then might I suggest "My Seven Years In Captivity" by Bill Seaton. It's all about his job as PR man for the famous San Diego zoo and it's a collection of great stories about the crazy "zoo life". Anyway, just thought you might be interested.

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