First, the facts:
Author: Catherine Friend
Published by: Da Capo Press, 2011
The In-Depth Look:
This book gives a whole new meaning to the word “sheepish.”
No, seriously. The author starts off by proposing that, instead of sheepish meaning embarrassed and awkward, we think of it to mean “Of sheep,” much like “Spanish” means “Of or relating to Spain.”
The interesting thing is that, at the beginning of this memoir, she’s really not very much “of sheep” at all. Oh, sure, she and her wife run a small farm and raise sheep. She admits that the lambs are adorable and appealing and that there are worse lifestyles, but she just doesn’t understand the appeal of things connected to sheep. Things like knitting, or spinning. We knitters have all been asked at least once, “Why knit it if you can buy it at Walmart for just a few dollars?”
At the beginning of this book, the author is one of those people.
The difference is that she just happens to raise sheep.
As the book progresses, though, she decides that even if she doesn’t have the passion to help in the field when things get too intense, she should at least be interested in what their sheep can DO. Or, rather, what they can grow. She takes up spinning. She takes knitting classes. She learns how to weave and discovers the wonders of hand-dyed yarn. And in the meantime, she’s researching everything she can on wool. You might already know that wool is flame-retardant and naturally insulating–but did you know it’s at the center of baseballs? Or that you can get wool underwear?
Like any good memoir, the book progresses through some major life changes and growth experiences. (Although it’s refreshing to read a memoir that does not center around a relationship crisis or catastrophe.) The journey here is more about making the most of the life she’s already in, not about giving it up to try another one.
As a knitter/spinner/wool-fan myself, I loved watching the story unfold. The author tells an entertaining story, and each step on the journey comes with touching anecdotes and heart-warming moments blended with a seesaw of self-confidence varying with self-doubt, but always with humor, and always with love and support given to and from her partner Melissa.
By the end? I don’t want to give it away, of course, but I’ll just hint that she’s not going to be mocking people for knitting their own socks any longer.
In fact, “Sheepish” might not only have that new definition of being connected to sheep, but the author might ultimately be feeling a little sheepish for not realizing it sooner. But that’s okay–it make the journey with her that much more enjoyable.
This lovely book can be found at Amazon.com. Go check it out!
This review copy was kindly donated by the author. Thank you!