I spent most of my childhood riding my bike in the suburbs around Seattle. There was a hill I could speed down, a blackberry maze I could pretend to get lost in, a witch’s house, and a speed bump that was perfect for popping wheelies. When I was eight, though, we had to move to a farm in Oregon, and, for many reasons, it was a watershed moment in my life. It wasn’t until years later, when we had to move again, that I could finally appreciate the beauty of the Oregon farm and the jagged, friendly little mountains I could see from my bedroom window. Eva of the Farm
is a sweet story about moves, changes, and losing a childhood home, but to some extent losing the farm is a broader symbol of losing childhood. While it was very sweet, it still confronted a lot of not-sweet injustices and bitterness. Eva is a thirteen-year-old poetess who lives on an orchard her family owns in Eastern Washington. Her beloved grandma recently died, and her best friend moved to Seattle. Eva’s family learns they might lose their farm to foreclosure because of a bad apple crop, and Eva has to deal with all of the loss she faces.
The story is told as a poem, and Eva’s poems punctuate what happens in her life. At first, I thought the poem format was slightly distracting from the story, but by the end I really liked it. It expressed a certain simplicity and deliberateness about the story that I thought was sweet and beautiful. I think a larger theme of the story is Eva’s transformation from seeing life as black and white, evil and good, to seeing her own influence in the world and power over it, as well as the complexity of people’s reactions to life and how that affects our own complex reactions.
I would say the message of this story is that change is bad, but we can be stronger than change. I can get behind that. Though I have now moved many times, no matter how many times it happens, no matter how many times I lose a friend or face death of someone I love, it always seems bad and like it displaces my soul for a little while. The way Eva gathers the greater powers around her seems like good, comforting advice.
I received a copy of this from the publisher, but I gave nothing in return.