When I was on my way to my snowy adventure, after I OJ’d in the airport, I spent several hours traveling by van to the beauty on the lake. As part of my journey, I passed many a small community and remote homes.
“How do people live out here?”
That is when I realized two things: 1) if I’m asking the question that way, there will not be answer I will understand; and 2) they probably think the same thing about my life. I live in a big city, in a condo with shared walls, on a busy street. It’s never quiet and never completely dark.
I actually tried to prepare myself for these types of questions before I left. Because this adventure took place in a state I’d never been before, I wanted a sneak peak at what to expect. Rather than using the all powerful Google to directly tell me about the region, I decided to have the search engine find me a novel set in the state. What I chose was The Elegant Gathering of White Snows.
What drew me to the book was it was about average women … who were in a book club together. That was something I could relate to, or at least want to relate to. I loved the book. It’s so strange that I say that because normally chic lit is not my thing, but it was incredibly heartwarming and relatable.
Obviously it didn’t help me instantly understand the people who lived in these remote houses that flew by at freeway speeds. It did, however, present a (fictional) slice of life for this group of friends that, while a heck of a lot more conservative than my peer group, were still going through the drudge of day to day living.
I tried to imagine what the people would read to try to get a feel for what my life is like. When I searched for books based in my home town, there were tons of murder mysteries and military romance series. Hmmmm. But there was also How to Be An American Housewife.
Although I am not a Japanese immigrant to the US like the main character, and my experience here has been dramatically different from hers, I did appreciate the genuine treatment of the city. Plus it had an added bonus of the occasional home ec passages to it!
Can you image living in the polar opposite of your current situation? or What is your favorite book that took place in your home town?
6 thoughts on “Polar Opposite”
I took a trip to Wyoming, where only about half a million people live. I was shocked that there were so few people who live in such a large place, even considering the unforgiving weather conditions most of the year. I was telling a neighbor about our trip and my wonder over the small population, and he replied, “It’s a great place to live if you don’t like people.”
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that the whole big state of Wyoming has less than 1/3 the population of the city where I live!
I definitely see your neighbor’s point about who would live out there. I bet the people that live there are quite independent, yet there is probably a really strong sense of community among those that choose that life.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who wonders about the lives of people living in really small towns. I just took a road trip recently and passed by a few small ones and just tried to wrap my head around their lives. I do understand a little since I grew up in a medium sized town surrounded by a bunch of small ones. But still, I’m a big city person – that’s what I like and I couldn’t live in a small town.
It would be such a different life. I try to wrap my head around what things must be like on a daily basis, but I can’t quite grasp the full picture. While I like moments of solitude, I have grown very used to being close to stores and cultural events.
Well first of all, thank you, thank you for the book reviews. I haven’t read or heard of either one (maybe I’ve been under a rock) but they both look good.
And I’m about to live a polar opposite – going to the sea for an extended period of time. I’m a mountain girl – totally at home in the high country so to be seaside will be new and a bit scary for me (because I have such a fear of the ocean).
The White Snows book received really bad reviews, but I liked it. American Housewife is universally considered to be really good.
I don’t like going in the sea, but living nearby doesn’t bother me – because I grew up here. Living in the mountains, so long as I was close to people and stores, sounds like it would be a wonderful experience as well.