The Awkward Ozarker.
The Awkward Ozarker
9780997325607, $16.95, PB, 278pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Awkward Ozarker" is the witty, wise, and heart-warming memoir of Blant Hurt, a fifty-something flatlander with urban sensibilities, who buys a ratty weekend cabin up in the dark heart of the Ozark Mountains. His new wife has a passing familiarity with this rugged area, but still just what are they doing? Their cabin is crudely built and lacks running water and electricity. Then there's the local land baron who aspires to build a giant sand mine on their doorstep. Aided by their deep-souled 'true Ozarker' neighbor, they slowly peel back the layers of what is basically a closed society up in the wilds of Izard County, Arkansas. They attend a one-room church with its oddball Yankee preacher, take on a magical stray dog that serves as his ever-eager hiking companion, brush against the local arts and crafts gentry (alas, neither he nor his wife has any craft-worthy skills, save her fondness for spray-painting), and even join a group of doomsday preppers. Through it all, they come to relish their new lives in this little lost corner of the world. Eventually, owing to the ruin of the local land baron, they scheme to amass more property to pass on to their heirs as a so-called one hundred year legacy, if only they, like so many other dreamers up in the Ozarks, can pull it off.
Critique: Exceptionally well written and presented, "The Awkward Ozarker" is a consistently compelling and inherently fascinating read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Awkward Ozarker" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).