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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Growing up, Nicole Helget's life was a lesson in contrasts: She'd watch through the steamy windows of the warm kitchen as the bitter Minnesota winters blanketed her family's farm, and learned to catch fly balls from the same man who felled his favorite cow in a macabre scene with a pitchfork. Likewise her memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways, is one of rare depth and intensity, a portrait of a family and a way of life that's deceptive in its simplicity. Peeling away layer upon layer of the seemingly mundane, Helget uncovers drama in the family routine as she explores a girlhood marked in equal parts by love and brutality.
Whether "Colie," as her family calls her, is flirting with the milkman or raising hell with her sisters, her life is circumscribed by the boundaries of home, family, and daily chores. But home is a small farm in a remote midwestern town, and her family is burdened with more than its share of pain and unhappiness. Toughened by farm work and a volatile father, Colie learns to navigate the minefields of home and adolescence with determination and grit and arrives, finally, at a hard-won self-assurance. Piercing in its truthfulness, Helget's is a wondrous memoir, a record both brave and revelatory that lingers in the minds of its readers long after the last page is turned. (Holiday 2005 Selection)