Author: Joyce Fetzer Schutten
ISBN: 978-1-60743-418-4
Publisher: Judson Books

Click Here To Purchase Men, Children and Grass Farming--A Suburban Life

The biggest reason for nestling Joyce Fetzer Schutten's Men Children and Grass Farming: A Suburban Life in your lap is its elegant and delicious prose. Plan on reading these eleven essays in short bursts, which, for the most part are autobiographical, as they serve a good dose of a warm and refreshing perspective of slices of the author's life. In fact, these writings could easily be scenes from the lives of many of Schutten's readers growing up in the 50s and 60s.

The essays are of varying lengths, written with a seamless style and laced with tickling humor that could even be a great recipe to cheer up the most bedraggled causalities of mid-life crisis. There are anecdotes and reminiscences from the past, but the author is at her best when she narrates and shares personal secrets with her readers permitting them to enjoy an intimate perspective of her life as: “I had no idea that by wearing blue jeans, running around and riding bikes I was in any way advancing the cause of women. I didn't know women had a cause. It was not until the 1970's that my consciousness was raised and I realized women's clothing was a political issue.” And when she narrates the story of her phantom Girlfriend , whom she created when she was three years of age. According to Schutten, her Girlfriend is still alive fifty years later, and as she confesses, “OKAY! YES! I talk to myself.” In another, Schutten describes the years she devoted to homeschooling her two sons for six years and how she was part of a dynamic and powerful community of exhausted women who tried to and did support each other. If you are a parent who has watched your children leave for college, you will easily identify with the touching essay Just Go, where very often there is worry and confusion. In Doubt Truth to Be a Liar, her voice is a wonderful blend of honesty and wit as she mixes in excerpts from Shakespeare's Hamlet in describing her son's paralysing indecision and confusion concerning college.

Schutten also knows a thing or two about nostalgia reminding her readers that the sandlot baseball players she once knew as a child growing up in Evanston, Illinois no longer exist. There was no Little League but this didn't stop the neighborhood kids, who are mostly boys, from playing baseball and where it was very rare to see the presence of a dad.

In reading these essays we are fortunate to be beneficiaries of skillfully woven narratives that are deeply readable and thoughtful.

A graduate with a BA in English from Vassar College and an MA in Psychology from Loyola University, Schutten lives in Bloomington, Minnesota with her husband David Schutten. As noted in the inside cover of the book, some of the pieces have been previously published in whole or in part in various publications.

Click Here To Read Norm's Interview With Joyce Fetzer Schutten

Click Here To Purchase Men, Children and Grass Farming--A Suburban Life