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Down the Dirt Roads - Book Review

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by May (subscribe)
Typical Gemini, with the concentration span of a gnat & not one for sitting still. My old Da used to say that "you're a long time dead". So my mantra is get busy living.Please join me for more at
Published April 24th 2017
This is 'Learn, Live, Pray' Aussie Style
Have you ever run into the Library to grab a book to see you through the long weekend only to find you've walked away with something totally unexpected?

I'de suffered a few weeks where my reading material was confined to fiscal and scientific reads, neither of which I do well at the best of times. So when I ran into the local library twenty minutes before closing time I had "froth and bubbles" in my mind. I don't usually read froth and bubbles either, such was the state of my head at the time.

And that is how Rachael Treasure entered my home. Queen of Australian Chick Lit, or more colloquially Chook Lit, as in romance set in the Australian rural heartland. I had never before read a novel by Rachael Treasure in my life!

Talk about an epiphany. When was the last time you read a book that changed your life?

Down the Dirt Roads is Treasure's memoir and is the tale of her working hard on the family farm in Tasmania, only to be displaced following the breakdown of her marriage. Imagine this: the daughter of the property who has poured her heart and soul into the family farm gets booted off following her divorce, whilst the ex-son in law is retained. Talk about a kick in the guts!

Rachael commences her journey along the dirt roads to find her place in the wilderness of beloved Tasmania. There a few stops and starts along the way as the author questions the intensive farming practises and how it damages the land, and this only encourages her quest to nurture the environment.

Despite two young children and some lean times, she learns that you don't have to be surrounded by material things to lead a happy life. She grows her own veggies, eats fresh produce off the land, and rejoices in good friends and neighbours. She has gone back to grassroots to relearn her place in the world.

The author also looks back to the pioneer females of previous generations to gain a fresh perspective about the role of women in rural Australia. As she so rightly states, our female pioneers were so much more than the Sigrid Thornton depiction of Jessica in the popular 80's movie, The Man From Snowy River. Thank you, Rachael, for this!

Not quite the raving greenie nor feminist, Treasure none the less puts things "out there" that the rest of us may only think. I love her description of a night out in the big smoke of Hobart with all the attractively dressed professionals with their man bags and herself in working uniform of ripped jeans. She revels in the camaraderie of fellow women on the land and there is a touch of the spiritual as these women support and hold each other up as required.

Rachael Treasure is one very smart cookie. Educated, an experienced animal handler, truffle hunter, agriculturist, journalist, writer, and rabbit skinner, there is not much that this lasś would not try. This book is a story of a determined woman's growth, of optimism and of healing. This is Rachael's story.

Bitter and twisted? Not at all. Treasure values the lessons she has learned along the way, and I wish her many "happy years in her paddock".

I suppose this means I will have to read one of her froth and bubbles next

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Cost: Available from all good Australian bookstores
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