I can’t contrast Farther Afield, by Miss Read, enough with the subject of my last review. I’m not typically one to miss the underlying meaning of a story but I must admit, I just didn’t “get” this. It was a fine enough read; the author paints a nice picture of the action in your head. It’s just that when I was done reading the book, I didn’t really feel that I’d gotten anything out of it, because I didn’t feel like the characters had changed any. (Now perhaps that’s Donald Miller rubbing off on me, but it affected my view of the book nonetheless.)
The story is one of a village schoolteacher, content in her singlehood and refusing to accept the negative connotation that comes with the word “spinster.” During summer break, she takes an unfortunate tumble down the stairs in her home, breaking her arm and twisting her ankle. Her longtime friend, Amy, who has been the picture of a happy, good wife, comes to her aid. Once recovered enough, she decides to take Amy up on her offer to go to Crete, on a holiday that was originally planned for Amy and her newly-estranged husband.
Much of the book then takes place during this holiday as the two women enjoy each other’s company and their own solitude at times. While the schoolteacher ultimately reckons with herself that marriage is for some, she is still content with her solitary life. She heals up and school starts back again. Amy and the husband reconcile. Schoolteacher vows to go to Crete again someday. And that’s it.
The most exciting thing in the book is the fall down the stairs, which is over in a page. On the upside, I’ve never been to Crete but the descriptions in the book make it seem amazing.