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