Stanley J. Scherr
Outskirts Press (2016)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/16)
In “Life on the Farm,” author Stanley J. Scherr has written a beautiful family memoir that begins during the 1930s when his parents had to endure the hardships of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Fortunately, in addition to being a good farmer, his father was an astute businessman and because of that, Stanley could carry on the farming tradition. Stanley uses photographs to illustrate his story and it is interesting to see how much the farm changed over time.
Even though farming involves a great deal of risk taking because a farmer must rely a great deal on the weather, there is a sense of family and community involvement involved that is often missed by people who are raised in the city or the suburbs. This sense of community is beautifully conveyed in “Life on the Farm.” Through harsh times, the Scherr family and their neighbors worked to helped each other. They also were able to assist others in the community, especially when they could use their farm equipment to help free motorists stuck in the snow!
Life on the Farm is a beautiful tribute to the Scherr family. I feel this is a book that will be passed down for generations within this family. However, as our society becomes more dependent upon technology and children raised with the idea that food comes from grocery stores, I think it is important that a work such as this should be used in education. Young readers will gain greater appreciation learning about how their food is created. For myself, I had many opportunities as a child to spend time on family farms. While it was a great experience with beautiful memories, I didn’t actually have to do any of the hard work. Reading this book gave me more appreciation for my relatives who farmed and the family members who still do so to this day.
I highly recommend “Life on the Farm” by Stanley J. Scherr to people who will enjoy stepping back into the past to relive their farming days. I also suggest this book be used in educating youth about the realities of where our food comes from.