Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Review by Stephanie Smith)

2 min read

Hope Farms by Peggy Frew is narrated by, adult age,  Silver but is told from Silver’s teenage point of view. In 1985, when Silver is 13 years old her mother, Ishtar, falls in love with a man known by Miller. Ishtar, moving Silver once again, follows Miller to Hope Farms. Hope Farms is a rundown hippie commune in Australia. This move is one in many for Ishtar and Silver. With each move seeming to be a downgrade instead of upgrade.  While the story is narrated by Silver it is intertwined with journal inserts by her mother. The journal inserts begin with Isthar becoming pregnant as a teen and being sent to a home for unwed mothers. When Isthar decides to keep her baby instead of giving it up for adoption she is disowned by her family. The reader quickly realizes the depression that Ishtar has faced and her struggle to find love.  The reader see’s how Silver is trying to grow up with a mother who is still growing as well. The reader follows the harsh realities of life being bestowed on Silver. In the mother’s journal inserts and Silver’s reminiscing the reader sees 2 young girls in different situations being forced to grow up way too quickly.

Overall the story was good, it showed a young girl’s venture into her teenage years, but the reader begins to see that Silver is being thrust into adulthood quicker than her years should allow. I will be honest I struggled relating to the characters I couldn’t put myself in Silver’s point of view or her mother, Ishtar’s, point of view. This struggle made it difficult for me to get into the story.  I felt that the story concept was beautiful and feel that my struggle was in not ever being exposed to a hippie lifestyle, never being a teen mom, and never living in a 1 parent household.

I did really enjoy how the story was told by Silver but was intertwined with her mother’s journal entries. I felt that allowed the reader, as well as, Silver to finally begin to understand her mother. This book makes you realize that even adults that “you put on a pedal stool” are struggling to understand and find their place in the world.  Everyone no matter their age and status are struggling to meet social norms yet stay true to oneself. We all are struggling to find love. We all face loss, disappointment and let down from those we love.  I am giving this book a 4.3 out of 5. I don’t blame the author for my struggle with the book.  Instead I find the she has a unique way of writing, while being beautifully descriptive. I encourage anyone who feels that this book fits their reading style to give it a chance.

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