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Pot Farm Paperback – 25 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; 1 edition (25 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803237847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803237841
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,359,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Pot Farm is a simultaneously beautiful, dark and life-affirming story that recounts the summer Frank and his wife spent as workers at a California collective, Frank as a field hand, and his wife as an on-site masseuse. It's a book I would've paid to read." - John Warner, Inside Higher Ed "Pot Farm is the curious and compelling tale of a hazy season spent harvesting medical marijuana. The cast of characters rivals those found in the finest comic fiction, except these folks are real, and really peculiar. Pot Farm is smart, sly, revelatory, often laugh-out-loud funny, and entirely legal." - Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire "Sex, politics, intrigue, crime, adventure, life and death it's all here, in a strangely compelling hybrid of action flick meets postmodern philosophical meditation meets Cheech and Chong. This compulsively readable expose from a self-proclaimed unreliable narrator has it all, including a cast of outcast characters who simply jump off the page." - Gina Frangello, author of Slut Lullabies

About the Author

Matthew Gavin Frank is an assistant professor of creative writing at Northern Michigan University. He is the author of "Barolo," available in a Nebraska Paperback, and the poetry collections "Sagittarius Agitprop," "Warranty in Zulu," and "The Morrow Plots."

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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gift for a California friend 21 Mar. 2012
By Megan_Michele - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for a family friend who I thought would enjoy it. Many times I have caught her watching weeds, californication, shameless, dexter, and a handful of other lovely modern family type shows. She is fairly conservative, had several friends who have had breast cancer, and most people would never expect her to be interested in this sort of topic but...

...I just got a text message from her saying "A book calle Pot Farm came in the mail, reading it." Several hours later "I love it! Thank you." Home run! Fantastic gift for someone who watches any of the shows mentioned above.

I'm a bit curious myself about the book and will be ordering a copy soon.
Will repost an update.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A poetry-laden tour 21 Sept. 2012
By Ken Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Frank paints a colorful landscape not only of the business of pot farming but of a fascinating crew he spent a summer with. (If he can end a sentence with a preposition once and get away with it, perhaps so can I ;) His charmingly self-deprecating humor combined with his rich palette and his flamboyant style were demanding for me as a nonvisual thinker. But when I allowed him to paint his pictures, I was delighted with what I saw. This book is as much about the universality of struggle as it is about anything else. Frank struggles. His wife and coworkers struggle. The reader struggles to pick apart what he admits might be recollection clouded by the miasma of pot smoke.

As a small disclaimer and as a very proud moment, I must tell you, dear review reader, that I have known Matt for a long time. We were college hall-mates and I got to know him very well. I'm incredibly proud to be able to read and review this really great work. I'm also delighted to get to know him even better through the pages of his book.
This is a phenomenal book. 18 Jun. 2014
By Brandon Davis Jennings - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Matthew Gavin Frank’s Pot Farm is a hungry book; it craves understanding, compassion, friendship, forgiveness, and actual food and drink. (My signed copy tried to drink my chamomile tea in order to show Frank that it’s okay to drink chamomile tea, and that his avoidance of chamomile tea and diet coke are only hurting his quest for completely freed artistic expression.) But the metaphorical hunger in the book can be seen through Frank-as-character’s attempts to fit into the world of medicinal marijuana growers/cutters/pickers/smokers and in the way that Frank-as-narrator struggles to situate himself and his unreliability in the world of contemporary CNF narrators. And he fits in—believe me. In fact, to admit early on that many of the events related in the book were likely blurred by his altered state of mind or his imperfect memory is something that a writer of non-fiction shouldn’t have to say; it should be implied. But as he says he’s “Waiting to be crucified on Oprah and then sign a seven-figure deal” (2). Which is ironic, obviously, since by noting that his non-fiction book might not be an exact account of the events within, he has stripped himself of the chance to be crucified and then make millions off of his own non-deadly crucifixion.

It’s not just the hunger or the admission of fallibility that I find engaging in Frank’s book, though. Odd characters abound and weave through the narrative, coloring the story with giant breasts, and strange cysts behind their ears. Characters complain about food while imparting knowledge about marijuana farms and knowledge about lived experiences without it ever seeming staged. Frank-as-narrator often makes light of, but still addresses, his own questions about masculinity within this world he’s become a part of. A few memory trips back to high school locker rooms and some dick jokes (used to illustrate Frank’s discomfort with his peer’s wittiness while at once showing his desire to make a dick joke to “fit in”—one of life’s most complicated dilemmas for contemporary man…I’m not joking) of his in the narrative-present help to shape the narrator into a man who is much more interested in the whys of the world he is living in, far beyond just those of the pot farm. Frank dips in and out of memory and the present-narrative deftly and for good reason. He uses past events to evaluate the present and uses present events to reevaluate the past, and lucky for the reader, he’s damn funny and earnest while doing it.

What I haven’t mentioned yet, because it is more of a structural compliment, is that this book could be classified as a cancer narrative. Frank’s mother had cancer and had chemo-therapy, and that motivated Frank and his wife to return home to help his mother and father with the complications of everyday living, and also, to be at home with his sick mother and grieving father and so on. Frank mentions in the opening chapter “I’m a little neurotic about engaging the whole ‘mom-with-cancer’ thing. Books about such events seem ubiquitous these days, and I hope you don’t think this is one of those stories” (3). Although I don’t know what the word “ubiquitous” means (another kind of food he won’t eat because of the memories it conjures, I suppose), Frank can rest assured that Pot Farm is not one of those stories, and it is not one of those stories in such a way that it might actually be a bridge for people who’ve never viewed marijuana as anything but a problem to cross and look at things in a different way; though Pot Farm never, ever sinks to the level of didaction that Upton Sinclair did at the close of The Jungle. (There are more differences between Pot Farm and The Jungle than that, but what does that have to do with anything?)

By choosing to avoid a narrative that focuses on his mother’s cancer treatment and the overwhelming sadness that would likely come off to readers as too sentimental or melodramatic (not as a result of Frank’s writing ability, but because it’s been done so many times now that people would have a hard time seeing even the potential for anything new or interesting to be said about the whole ‘mom with cancer’ thing—a result of an overabundance of cancer narratives, good and bad, coupled with what might be a called a cultural jadedness). Frank brilliantly subverts a reader’s expectations by taking us to the pot farm where he and his wife smoke marijuana to try and reevaluate their lives after the events they’d experienced and also work on the pot farm as a way of trying to understand past trauma and sadness. I hesitate to use the word “healing” because I don’t think Frank would like me to say anything that campy about the book, and also because such an idea is a bit corny no matter what lens you view it through. But I will say that people are on this pot farm because they like to smoke weed, and because they want to help people, and because they, like most humans, have an inherent drive to do something while they're still breathing, and on and on.

This is far from a simple book, but it will likely leave some readers dissatisfied. I imagine those who walk away after reading Pot Farm without feeling satisfied are people who expect that art is meant to fill them up in some way. And Pot Farm does fill one up, but with questions while, at once, relaying information about an industry that is fraught with peril. Snipers sit atop trees scanning for poachers and vigilante pot-farm-destroyers. The threat of a police raid is ever-present. Helicopters can fly by to investigate and make aerial assessments of the pot farm’s production capacity at any time. And these are just the potential threats in the physical world. Clearly Pot Farm is a world of uncertainty filled with people who want to help others and with people who want to help themselves; it is our world distilled. And Frank creates this world in a way that can stimulate a reader intellectually while at once offering readers who want to experience the emotional richness that surrounds and inhabits the people of the world he shows us a chance to do that too. This isn’t a cancer book. But it is a book that could eat you up.
Pot Farm is a must read ! 3 April 2014
By Marilyn J. Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting characters & enlightening. Thoroughly enjoyable . Easy to read & loved every moment. Personal touches make this book all the more interesting to read.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
sorry but not well written 19 Nov. 2013
By Reduction - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Humboldt and many other pot stories to read out there. Red headed blackbelt etc.. This one has its heart in the right place but is muddled, meandering and in the end, difficult to get thru
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