Review of “The Orchard” by Theresa Weir

I bet people hate being on planes with me. I finished this book as we were descending into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (our main transfer point between Tucson and Anywhere Else), sobbing loudly into my tiny American Airlines cocktail napkin. Although I don’t usually read memoirs, this lovely story by Theresa Weir of her married life is novelistic in style, and really is an unforgettable story.

Theresa was 21 when she met 23-year-old Adrian Curtis, and they married a mere three months later. Adrian was an apple farmer and Theresa went to live with him in one of the small buildings on his family’s farm. Adrian’s parents, particularly his mother Ruth, were opposed to the marriage, and constantly tried to sabotage it by trying to maintain control over Adrian and by disparaging Theresa. But life on the apple farm had many rewards too. Theresa loved the beauty of the natural setting, and became emotionally invested in the art of raising tasty apples. But she never realized until it was too late that the ubiquitous pesticides used to ensure the health of the apples were not so beneficial to the health of the people who inhaled them.

Theresa ends the book with a poignant plea to readers to understand that you can never know when you can lose someone, and so, she exhorts us:

“Don’t wait.
Don’t ever wait.”

Discussion: This book would make a wonderful book club choice. How do you deal with hostile in-laws and a spouse who feels caught in the middle? How much should you sacrifice for the sake of family harmony? How do you even know whether you love someone or not, just because you share a life and children? When the choice is a healthy crop to support your family, or a healthy family with no means of support, which do you choose, and how do you justify it?

Evaluation: This story of hardship and suffering, and love and hope pretty much stole my heart. At the end of the book, I felt like I knew this family well, and my tears were not only for all that Teresa had lost, but also for all that she finally achieved.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group USA, 2011

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22 Responses to Review of “The Orchard” by Theresa Weir

  1. Kaye says:

    wow, this does sound heartwrenching. Your review is fantastic!

  2. Love the cover of this book; makes me want to read it right away!
    Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  3. Rachel says:

    Great review! There are so many memoirs out now, it’s hard to know which ones are good (and I’ve been burned a few times!)

  4. This sounds like a memoir that might be worth reading! (As long as I have a cocktail napkin handy?) 🙂

  5. Alex says:

    oh yes, I’ve also had my moments in public transport. To the point where once a nice lady asked me if I was ok… This sounds like the type of book that will soon be picked up by Hollywood (and I mean that in a good way :)).

  6. Ti says:

    I can totally see you with your Kleenex on that plane.

    There is another book with Orchard in the title that is a dystopian novel. I thought this was it until I read further.

  7. Alyce says:

    Wow, that sounds so good – and sad at the same time.

  8. sandynawrot says:

    Oh jeez, I can tell right now this would be a book that I would need to read in the privacy of my own home. Where my family just rolls their eyes instead of just staring. Is this the book you said you were going to rate a 5/5? I want to read it, just have to prepare myself for it.

  9. Barbara says:

    I can’t imagine you sniffling into a cocktail napkin over a book. This must be very powerful. Good thing my Dave doesn’t read memoirs. He cries at Hallmark commercials. 😀

  10. I’m not big on memoirs, but this one sounds so good…and unfortunately so heartbreaking.

  11. zibilee says:

    This does sound like a tremendously moving book, and I like that your review was so complete without giving away too many spoilers. I have been really loving memoirs lately, and think that this one sounds like something that I would really enjoy. I am glad that you did, and that it so obviously tugged at your heart. Fantastic review!

  12. JoAnn says:

    Oh, this does sound good… but I’ll be sure to read it at home with plenty of kleenex!

  13. Now this sounds like a memoir worth reading!! I would love to sit next to you on a plane!! 😀

  14. Julie P. says:

    So glad to hear that this is a good one. I’ve seen such great reviews for it.

  15. Sounds like a tough one, but a worthwhile one as well. Nice review.

  16. Jenners says:

    This sounds like a compelling memoir … and I’m always on the lookout for a book that can bring me good and honest tears.

  17. BermudaOnion says:

    Wow! You know I love memoirs and this one sounds fabulous – I’m learning that same lesson from my mother and my mother-in-law these days. I can’t wait to read this book

  18. softdrink says:

    Thank you for crying so I don’t have to. I was this close to buying this book on Cape Cod. It’s a good thing I didn’t…my mom probably would’ve disowned me if I cried on the plane (I didn’t get my crying gene from her).

  19. Margot says:

    I had to smile when I read about you sobbing on the plane. I identify with that response. It means the book was so engaging, but still I’m embarrassed when I show my emotions like that to anyone other than my family.

  20. stacybuckeye says:

    This looks good, but also scary if you eat lots of apples! I don’t know how I’d handle the in-law situation. Lucky for me, the in-laws are pretty removed except for a few very short visits a year.

  21. Jenny says:

    This looks terribly sad. Oh dear oh dear. Who died? You can tell me. I’ll be happier knowing. Was it her husband or her kids?

  22. Rita K says:

    I listened to this on my iPod Touch. I think reading it would have been better as I was questioning how a young woman of 21 would be so perceptive about farming and also so aware of all around her. I know – she was actually writing it much later in her life and it is very well written. A story that really makes you question the farming practices in our current world. I liked it. I am also reading – in actual text – although on my ereader – The Song is You. I wil let you know what I think of that.

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