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Pot Farm Paperback – 25 Apr 2012
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"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 "--Gina Frangello (09/26/2011)
""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"--Dinty W. Moore (09/26/2011)
""Pot Farm" is a simultaneously beautiful, dark and life-affirming story." JohnWarner, "Inside Higher Ed"--John Warner"Inside Higher Ed" (02/22/2012)"
"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." Brandon Davis Jennings, "Third Coast Magazine"--Brandon Davis Jennings "Third Coast Magazine ""
"Pot Farm is a simultaneously beautiful, dark and life-affirming story."--John Warner, Inside Higher Ed--John Warner"Inside Higher Ed" (02/22/2012)
"This engaging memoir chronicles the unusual route the author and his wife took to mental rehabilitation after Frank's mother's grueling, months-long battle with cancer: they took up residence on a medical-marijuana farm in Northern California. . . . A highly entertaining tale."--David Pitt, Booklist--David Pitt"Booklist" (02/27/2012)
"Thriving amidst a hilariously motley crew of recovered drug addicts, hippies, users and business people, Frank shows us how the farm works from the first bud to the delivery of the product. Lots of fun, and high time that everyone had a closer look at this fascinating industry."--Caroline Leavitt, Dame: For Women Who Know Better--Caroline Leavitt"Dame: For Women Who Know Better" (03/14/2012)
"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."--Brandon Davis Jennings, Third Coast Magazine--Brandon Davis Jennings "Third Coast Magazine "
"Frank delivers his experiences through a wonderful narrative that stands in reality, but weaves a story like a work of fiction."--Nathan Reynolds, Big Muddy--Nathan Reynolds "Big Muddy "
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
...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.
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.
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