January 25, 2016

Book: From Here To There by Anne Trueaux

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:00 pm

The author is so far from reality that reality cannot even be seen with a telescope!

Weird principles makes you want to shake her up and say, ‘I know what you are driving at, and it is a nice principle, but this is beyond reasonable limit’. Why? Just look at the story!


Helene hates marrying the Perfect Phillip. He is rich, handsome, successful, everything a girl could want except that Helene does not love him at all. She feels choked but agrees to go through the motions. But in the limo on the way to the reception, she tells Phillip that she has changed her mind!


Great, OK, for what? Some romantic notions of a husband she wanted who would be a rancher, not a multimillionaire successful businessman who looks terrific which is what he got. What a misfortune to hit a girl, right?


She leaves him on the day of the marriage and runs back to her parents, who are just dumbfounded. Uncle Amos invites Phillip to come to the ranch to “prove that he is a man” to Helene by being a humble cowboy, if he loved her. There is the perfect solution to her problem! How simple.


He takes up the challenge. He is in her face.


He tries to fence the farm with barbed wire and finds that it is not as easy as it looks, with his shirt shredded and his body bruised and bleeding. Helene attends to it and they get to know each other better.


Boring stuff. Conversation inane, pointing to obvious things. Weird notions of wanting to have a man who worked with his hands and be a cowboy over a millionaire businessman and a self made man. Sounds like idealistic nonsense about nothing, if you are a rational reader.


He? Finds it more satisfying to feed a bunch of cows and repair a fence than running a multi billion dollar organization which he had successfully been doing for decades. Wow. Anyone else see anything wrong with this picture, even as a setting for a romantic story or is it just me? You see all those businessmen (Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch to name just two) refusing to retire well into their old age and wonder what they see in running a business instead of buying a farm out there in the countryside and grow corn and tend to cows. Or build a barb wired fence, which seems to be the most satisfying thing for a man to do, according to this author.


Then there is an insipid conversation of what it means to be an insider in the West vs an outsider. No big insights there and no connection with the story either.


Wes Carlson is an inept rival to provide some colour. And of course Phillip is a superman, who can sing, dance, have Adonis body and Einstein mind, can deliver babies and everything else. Typical romantic fantasy story. Oh, just in case you thought he was not yet the ideal, he is vulnerable so that a woman can mother him too. Perfect.


Now he is torn between going back to his work and chucking it all and staying in the cabin, looking after it without modern machinery to help – this in spite of realizing how great a fence building exercise can be. Subsistence farming is the sure route to happiness, as everyone knows. (Philosophy from the same author  about ‘you cannot fight change’ notwithstanding).


Well, a lot of inane details about how Helene keeps house, what she makes for breakfast, how the men prepare for the storm by spreading hay everywhere for the cows to eat, and how she makes preparations for the power cut to come… come on! Is it a home journal?


Finally, it gets better when Amos suffers a heart attack in the midst of a blizzard and Curly and Phillip go to help him. Helene is alone and Phillip tries to come back, almost losing his life in the effort. They both realize how much they love each other and the story ends predictably, with Helen getting everything she wanted in life and Phillip realizing what is truly important to him and what is not. (Money is not). Feeding animals in the cold and doing what men had done before him is. (At least till man started keeping animals at ranches. Cavemen do not count, as that is not what man did earlier. We know where to draw the line). And Western novels is not about heroics. They were added only to make people read the books. The real story is tending to animals, and living like a cowboy (manual labour with little money to show for it, as the characters themselves admit).


Well, this is not an impressive story.   3/ 10


  • – Krishna

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