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It Was a Wonderful Life
Mar 31, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, IN -- Hard Times in the Country: Ramblings of a Hayseed (published by iuniverse) by author Timothy L. Wahl depicts life in rural upstate New York (Allegany County) in the 1950s and '60s, giving readers a glimpse of life through the eyes of an adolescent.
Wahl's memoir begins on the night of his high school graduation-a feat that was in itself a miracle. Timothy wasn't at all academically inclined and was a bit of a rabble rouser, but in a relatively quiet, unobtrusive way. Born into a generations-long dairy family, Wahl knew the value of hard work and sweat.
The life on the farm he knew was toil in the hay field, piling cow dung on the manure spreader, splitting wood and slinging bags of oats.
But there are deeper issues shaping Timothy's life: besides scoring dismal grades in school, he doesn't fit in and is a relative loner. Though teachers exhort him to achieve, in all actuality most hold out little hope for his success and peers have little respect for him. At home, he faces constant ridicule and criticism and endures unusual forms of punishment, as do his siblings. All this comes to a boiling point in high school with Wahl's attempt on his own life.
Yet in spite of the hardships of growing up, Tim's humor, optimism and nostalgia pervade the memoir, etching an image of how wonderful and rich a life he had. Wahl presents picaresque adventures, peculiar confrontations and quirky vignettes which all point toward learning by the hard knocks of experience. It's a long way from his big dreams of becoming something or someone important, but he presses onward through the day-to-day to get there.
Throughout the memoir, themes of self-esteem, peer pressure and what constitutes manhood are evident as Wahl struggles to find his place in the world-issues that continue to resonate through every generation of adolescents. Hard Times in the Country beautifully transports readers to a time that may seem like fantasy to a younger generation-to an era near the end of the Cold War, where life moved slower and neighbors knew each other-but brings a personal connection as readers engage with Timothy's personal struggles and triumphs.
More information can be obtained by visiting the author's website, www.timwahl.com.
About the Author
Timothy L. Wahl, born and raised on a dairy farm, teaches ESL at Evans Community Adult School in Los Angeles and consults in distance learning with higher education. He and his Venezuelan-born wife, Nelly, reside in Glendale, CA with their two children, Alejandra and Alexander, and the company of rescued cats.
Keywords: coming of age, rural life, bullying, memoir, creative nonfiction Arts and Entertainment » Books
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