Dennis Deery

Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert

February 14, 2013

Prairie Silence: A MemoirPrairie Silence: A Memoir by Melanie Hoffert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book!

Author Melanie Hoffert grew up in a small town in North Dakota. She realized at an early age that she was gay, but kept this fact hidden from her family and community for many years. Like so many rural kids, once she grew up she left her community for the big city, in this case the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

Again, like many rural kids, once she’d created a life in the city she began to look back to her hometown with some longing. She decides to return home for a harvest season to take a look at her life from a new, and an old, perspective.

I enjoy homecoming memoirs, especially of a rural nature, and I really enjoy memoirs about people trying to find their place in the world. What made me love this book though is that Hoffert came to a conclusion near and dear to my heart, which is that you can only come to understand who you are when you also come to understand where you came from. Add in the fact that Hoffert describes this journey with beautifully lyrical language and you end up with a book that I nearly read in one sitting. Her descriptions of her hometown, the people and the places, rang incredibly true to me because I grew up with some of those same people and places in small-town Wisconsin.

Hoffert came to a bit of an epiphany the day she had to submit the manuscript for this book, so that piece was given short shrift. I do hope she returns to that topic in a future book!

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