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Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl by [Bodensteiner, Carol]
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Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl Kindle Edition

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Length: 218 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description


"If you have ever milked cows, made hay, dressed chickens, or wondered about Santa Claus ... you'll identify with these situations." --Lee Kline, WHO Radio "Carol's book evolves into a page turner, not because of high drama but rather because we come to care for this little girl who's living a good, simple life."--Mary Kay Shanley, author "Celebrates an important time in the history of American agriculture."--Mark Pearson, host of "Market to Market," Iowa Public Television Growing Up Country "is an inspiration. We've had a good life with the cows. Thanks for the memories."--another farm girl who grew up country

Product Description

Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl delivers a treat as delicious as oatmeal cookies hot out of the oven - a memoir of a happy childhood. In charming and memorable vignettes, Carol Bodensteiner captures rural life in middle America, in the middle of the 20th Century. Bodensteiner grew up on a family-owned dairy farm in the 1950s, a time when a family could make a good living on 180 acres. In these pages you can step back and relish a time simple but not easy, a time innocent yet challenging. If you grew up in rural America, these stories will trigger your memories and your senses, releasing a wealth of stories of your own. If the rural Midwest is foreign territory to you, Carol s stories will invite you into a fascinating and disappearing world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3385 KB
  • Print Length: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Rising Sun Press; 2 edition (Oct. 1 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047GNDYI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #325,089 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.6 out of 5 stars 237 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly authentic and heartfelt - I felt like I was there with them Sept. 7 2012
By Clare Chu - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The vignettes are authentic, heartwarming and inspiring. The author's voice is exactly that of a ten to twelve year old girl. She speaks as a child would and transports the reader back in time to her kitchen, barn, or field. Each adventure was a complete story, with a goal, tension, hoped for outcome and a lesson.

I loved every one of the stories, except for the one about the cow with milk fever and the last one. But such is life, and the bad times are not papered over. I came to know Carol, her two sisters, two grandmothers, mom and dad, and her schoolmates and Mrs. Fowler almost as if they were my own neighbors. Carol, or Squirt, took me through her lessons, mischief, trials and accomplishments. My chest fill with pride when Squirt accomplished her goals, whether it was lifting a milk pail, or selling her radishes, and I felt keen disappointments at her setbacks, especially the 4H club, the bet, and the carny.

This book was so rich and filled adventures and historical information, I wouldn't be surprised if it were read in history classes. It went beyond farm life to the way people lived, interacted, hoped and feared during the pre-Sputnik times. Carol combined the voice of her childhood with her wiser adult voice looking back in a seamless manner. It's incredible how much detail she remembered from fifty years ago. What a wonderfully nostalgic view of life in time and place that no longer exists. Carol has done an excellent job of preserving it, much like her mother preserved vegetables, she preserved memories.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book Feb. 26 2013
By David Lawlor - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like most people, I grew up with certain TV shows engrained in my memory. One of those that still stirs a warm, fuzzy glow of nostalgia is The Waltons… the close-knit community, the simple pleasures, the hard manual work and the sometimes bucolic ease. I wanted to live on Walton’s Mountain and I hankered after a porch with a swing seat where I could sip on a cool homemade lemonade just the way the Walton family did.

I never did get that porch with the swing seat but, now, thanks to Carol Bodenstiener, I can get to have that warm, fuzzy feeling all over again. Her book, Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, is the closest thing I think I’ll get to that Walton experience. Bodensteiner’s beautifully written book recounts her life growing up with her sisters and parents on an Iowa dairy farm in the Sixties and Seventies. It is a life that is certainly seen through rose-tinted glasses, but it is all the better for that because Bodensteiner captures it perfectly.

This is a charming book, full of great descriptive writing in a series of short stories that encapsulate life in those times. Life in the Bodensteiner childhood wasn’t short of chores – from killing and plucking chickens to bringing in the hay or milking the cows. However, it was also a life filled with love – both for the work itself and for those doing it.

A good author, I feel, is one who can make passages seem economic and effortless. Bodensteiner achieves this with aplomb. She is a very gifted writer and one who can put you in a scene immediately.

My stomach rumbled and my nose twitched as I practically tasted the homemade pies and smelled the fried chicken as it cooked in her childhood home. I’m a city boy and don’t know one end of a cow from the other but such is the skill of Bodensteiner’s descriptive writing that I think I could have set up my own milking parlour by the end of this book.

If you want to escape the pressures of your daily life and get away from the rat race, this is a must-read book. You will feel all the better at the end of it and will lament its passing almost as much as you will regret the fact that you never got to taste some of that Iowa farm home cooking.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sentimental Journey April 27 2013
By Susan G. Weidener - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This memoir immediately transports you to a more innocent, simpler time. Even though I grew up in suburbia, it left me nostalgic for my own childhood, the aroma of my mother's cooking in the kitchen, daydreaming on a warm summer day, the smell of woolen mittens drying on the radiator after a snowfall. As I read this book, I was amazed by the author's capacity to remember the details of her childhood, and life growing up on a farm in rural America. I felt her nostalgia for something lost . . . of a time and a place long gone where people worked hard as individuals - getting up at 4 a.m. to milk cows - and for the greater good of the community by donating cherry pies and bidding on their own heifers at raffles to raise money for their church. Each chapter represents a little gem, a standalone "mini-story" that allows the reader to savor this trip into the past, put the book down and come back to it at a later time without losing the thread of "the story" - a young girl's initiation into the importance of family, integrity, and hard work. As Bodensteiner writes in the Epilogue, "It's true my memories are made more beautiful by a golden glow that shines brightly on the positive, while shading the negatives with forgetfulness." It is this admission that keeps the book from sliding into the sappy and provides a window into the author herself. She is quite clearly on a sentimental journey that this reader could appreciate.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubby agrees: He grew up on a cattle ranch June 24 2012
By Amazon_Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been reading excerpts of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, as he grew up on a Midwestern cattle ranch during the same timeframe presented in this book, and he's agreed with almost everything I've read. He was so intrigued by the book he asked me to send the book over to his iPad. I have complied.

While I never grew up on a ranch or farm, I've become well aware of the customs author Carol Bodensteiner has written about. For example: Hubby and I stopped to visit his aunt during our first trip back to visit family when we were on our honeymoon. His aunt, who knew to expect us but not when, welcomed us with open arms and "Please stay for lunch." We stayed for lunch. She managed to pull out of her freezer sliced ham and seven salads plus dessert for lunch. Mind you she did this while continuing to run her little beauty shop next door. Of course we were not fed well enough for lunch so the next invitation was "Please stay for dinner." We stayed for dinner. I can't remember all of the details for dinner but it was a casserole of some sort, veggies, salad, and of course dessert. On the side were the typical pickles and relishes. Everyone in his family welcomed us in a similar fashion as we traveled northward as they all grew up on a ranch or farm and that is how you welcomed visitors.

While I may never been a country girl, I was brought up with similar values, and so I can relate to this book. For a city girl, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about country life. I wish I had grown up on a family farm as it may have been a lot of hard work but there was also a lot of reward.

I highly recommend this book for both city and country readers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written stories of farm life filled with truth, beauty, humor and poignancy Nov. 17 2014
By Sherrey Meyer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" I have only to close my eyes and breathe in to remember the smell of a field of new-mown hay, flex my fingers to remember the feel of a calf sucking as it learned to drink, open my ears to the sound of my mother smoothing over a cooking mistake. Then I remember my dad sitting on the feedbox petting a yellow tomcat and I want to go sit by him again and talk about the work that has yet to be done." (Epilogue, Loc. 2921, Kindle version)

For some 33 years now, I have listened to my husband and his siblings reminisce over memories of their growing up on a cattle farm in the Yakima Valley of Washington state. I often wondered if their experiences were unique.

You see, I grew up a city girl in Nashville, TN, a far cry from Iowa or Washington. My memory banks hold no recollection of ever setting foot on a dairy farm during my childhood or even as an adult.

To date, I have taken my acquired family's stories at face value, believing each farm would have its own unique set of stories with no semblance to another farm family's set of stories.

Carol Bodensteiner, in sharing her memories in this charming memoir, Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, has proven me wrong. So wrong in fact I was guilty of running to my husband and suggesting he remember a certain story about calving or planting or haying and then reading aloud to him Carol's story of similar experiences.

Carol's gift of storytelling is rich, distinct, and nourished with truth. Each vignette she shares draws the reader in to experience it with Carol, her sisters, and their folks. Whether it is a family or farm story, a story drawn from community at school or church, or a story of certain relatives or friends, a tapestry of a simpler life on the farm when time moved more slowly and memories were more easily cherished is woven thread-by-thread until you feel transported to the Bodensteiner farm.

This isn't to say that growing up on the farm was always easy for the Bodensteiner girls. Carol shares easily the difficult times as well as the good. She does not shy away from letting her reader know that life was not always smooth, losses were hard, and the weather could change the success of a crop or the success of a cow giving birth to a healthy calf.

Carol ended her epilogue with the quote shared above, but I have another favorite that speaks clearly to the writer's ability to draw in her reader. It is found in the prologue:

"This land of my childhood releases sweet, long forgotten memories and brings me back home. Home to the farm. Home to my family. Home." (Prologue, p. 3, Kindle version)

What reader would not want to turn the page to explore this farm, meet this family, and discover home?

My Recommendation:

Fans of memoir, farms and farming, simpler times, and stronger community will fall in love with Carol Bodensteiner's Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl. Each chapter or vignette can stand alone, and I think they would be lovely read aloud to children teaching them of a disappearing lifestyle on which our country once depended upon.