Friday, November 8, 2013

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole (Schoolhouse Review)

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At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a charming look at Southern life through the eyes of author, Franklin Sanders. The book is actually a collection of excerpts from Sanders’ monthly newsletter, The Moneychanger, starting  from 1995 and continuing until 2002. (This volume is actually the first of three—the other two to be published soon.)

The chapters in At Home in Dogwood Mudhole chronicle many years in the lives of the Sanders family, focusing largely on their quest to leave the city and get back to a simpler life in the country. It’s part how-to guide, part travel book, and part biography, sprinkled liberally with fussing at ornery farm animals, waxing the virtues of great Confederate heroes, Confederate battle reenactments and rants about the overreaching control of the “Yankee” government.

I thoroughly enjoyed this laugh-out-loud funny book. I learned about Sanders’ fights with the legal system and subsequent trips to prison about the government’s insistence that he collect sales tax on the sale of gold and silver (which he maintains are money and the exchange of money for money is not subject to sales tax).

I read about their adventures with escapee and fainting pigs (named Houdini and Princess), the antics of several not-too-bright dogs, the sad loss of many animals, and the struggle to keep chickens safe from predators. I learned about Southern towns with names like “Slick Lizard” and “Dogwood Mudhole.” I lived vicariously through Sanders’ several years of preparation for Y2K and the resulting 2500 pounds of rice (The pigs loved it) and equally huge quantities of dried food. Through it all run the themes of faith, family, love of the land, and simplicity.

Here’s an example of the writing style and humor found throughout the book. It describes a slight unplanned interruption in a Cemetery Walk where costumed interpreters were to tell of the famous and interesting people buried there.

Police cars began to pour over Elmwood bridge. I counted nine in a row, then a pause, then three more, pause, another three. Fifteen cars in all. You’d have thought the cemetery had been baited with donuts. They got their man. They also got the two poor fellows whom he had side-swiped, arresting them and locking them in squad cars too. Them they eventually let go. I confess: I don’t always understand the logic of law enforcement. photo Franklin_Deal-300x451_zpsb3f59745.jpg

It was fun for me to realize that Sanders lives less than 100 miles from me and that I was at least marginally familiar with many of the places he speaks of in the book. I even found a few eateries and tourist attractions I’d like to visit sometime.

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a unique, informative, and entertaining book. I recommend it!

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I recieved this product free in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. On behalf of the Sanders family, thank you for taking the time to read the book and post your review. We would like to let your readers know they can get free shipping (for up to 2 books, to US addresses only) by using the discount code TOSFREE at checkout. Thanks again, and God bless!

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