April 12, 2011

Pioneer Woman, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond: DNF

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Okay people, this will not be a positive review. Let's get that out of the way. I know Pioneer Woman has thousands of fans and I'm putting myself at risk of a tongue lashings by posting this. But...I'm going to anyway. Before you start thinking, "Why you got to be hating on Ree?" here are a few things you should keep in mind. A) I'm not a blog follower of hers. I know who she is and have seen her blog (the Cadillac of blogs by the way). I'm not familiar with her or her husband. I'm coming into this book without any preconceived notions. Even if I don't like her book, I wish her all the success in the world. Bags and bags of it. B) Much of my problem with the book is related to editing and C) Do you really think Ree Drummond gives a flying fig what I think? Right now she's probably riding her tractor in her black heels all the way to the bank. Laughing. "Hahahaha."

From the title Black Heels to Tractor Heels, I assumed the book would be about the trials and tribulations of a city bred woman struggling to adjust to her new life in the country while falling in love. Instead, the first half of the book is a play by play of how she met and married her husband. She devoted a large part of the book to his tanned arms and fabulous butt. The book reads like a really long blog post with too much repetition. What she needed was to tighten up the story. Delete unnecessary words. The courtship portion could have been a couple of chapters with more emphasis on characterization.

I read all about Marlboro Man's* amazing bod but didn't learn much about his personality. He chuckled and said, "Are you okay?" a lot. It is much easier to write about your own foibles than the ones of the person you have to sit across the kitchen table from everyday. That's understandable but it's necessary to make me care. Not being a reader of her blog, I have no context for these people. Her readers may already know all about them and this may make it easier for those readers to connect but I could not.

I never found out how Ree adjusted to farm living. I stopped listening half-way through. At that point he had just asked her to marry him.**

I suspect a fan of Pioneer Woman would enjoy Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. However, it was not for me.

About the Audio: Read by the author. I was asked if reading instead of listening would have made a difference. That's a good question. Considering my experience, I recommend reading the text.


*She only refers to her husband as Marlboro Man. This made me crazy.

**I've since read that the latter half is much better, as it was never on her blog and less "bloggy".

10 comments :

  1. This sounds exactly like her blog, which I skim for the recipes. She's constantly talking about Marlboro Man's ass, and posting photos of it, and then being like, What? Here's another photo. And she's always like Ha ha ha don't ask me why I did that weird thing I'm just really weird ha ha aren't I weird? And that makes me crazy. Either be slightly nutty or DON'T, but don't constantly be commentating on your own nuttiness.

    But her recipes are good.

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  2. I haven't read the book and I like Ree just fine, but one thing has always bugged me. She grew up in Oklahoma, not somewhere like LA. Having grown up 20 miles from Oklahoma, I don't think being a farm wife is as big a culture shock as she makes it out to be. I don't think it matters that she lived in the city in her 20's. She grew up in Oklahoma. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the whole city to ranch thing is for publicity.

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  3. Doesn't really sound like my idea of a good book, but you never know... Sorry to hear you really struggled with it, but at least you didn't make yourself suffer until the end. :)

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  4. Raych- So she talks about his butt all the time? I thought she was writing that part because they just met. I hear her recipes are quite good. I must look for them.

    Kristy- I wondered about that because she mentions seeing pick-ups when she was growing up. She must have had some familiarity with that life or she was just extremely sheltered.

    Kelly- Well, some people absolutely loved it, according to Goodreads. So you never know.

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  5. The book is made up of the blog posts under the same topic. She posted them in installments every month or so. I read many of them and got tired of it.

    It was almost like a school girl crush or something. The gushing and drooling. Meh.

    She sure has cashed in on her blog though! She has the cookbook, this book, a children's book about her dog and I hear a photography book coming out. Not to mention the possibility of a cooking show!

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  6. Like Raych, I skim Pioneer Woman for recipes and for her amazing giveaways (none of which I have ever won, alas). And she's right- there are a LOT of pictures of Marlboro Man's butt. And of her dog. I am not really a big fan of sharing that sort of thing online (especially as her kids probably read her blog!). But I think her blog also just makes her life seem... fake somehow. She always talks about how fabulous her husband is and how she has the best kids in the world and she gets to stay in these ridiculously fancy hotels all the time for her book tour, and I just can't help thinking that if she posted some of the stuff that goes wrong in her life, it would be much easier to like her.

    Sorry for that super-long sentence.

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  7. Ti- "gushing and drooling" Yeah, there was a lot of that. She's done amazingly well with her blog!

    Aarti- Everyone has bad days, not every moment is super-awesome. That's just life. I can see how that would get on the nerves.

    Kathy- Thanks.

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  8. I've followed her site for...2 or 3 years now (it might even be longer). I got sucked into her recipes first (her mashed potatoes? AMAZING), then started reading her other things.

    I think she is a very lovely person who might gloss over some negativity, but I think she has to do that given the extreme public persona she has. EVERYTHING is on her site. I think if she did mention something negative, people would flip. But I do think she is a caring person who managed to fill some kind of niche years ago online and has grown since then.

    All that being said, I like her short blog posts. They are funny, sweet, and short, and sometimes that is all I need. I don't think I could handle reading a whole book like that. It would be irritating and grating. So while I own her cookbook, I don't think I will ever read this.

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  9. Allie- That could be her 'brand' just like the Dooce lady's is to reveal evvvvverything (and also get fired).

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