Book Review - The Adventures of Snip in Oregon

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Adventures of Snip in Oregon by Betty S. Moir with illustrations by Yumi V. Vong is full of potential. This is the product description from Amazon:

"The Adventures of Snip in Oregon recounts the tale of a lovable shaggy dog as he wanders into the hearts of the Moir Family and their daily lives in the peaceful countryside. Betty S. Moir paints a colorful portrait of "home life" in the Northwest during the 70's in these first five chapters introducing Snip."

As I read these stories all featuring Snip, a dog obviously loved deeply by his family, I picture myself on a porch listening to a grandmother tell me tales of a former life when her own children were small and the days were filled with chores around the farm. Unfortunately, I am not on that porch, I am sitting in my own living room trying desperately to read through the grammar mistakes and general non congruence of each chapter.
It is clear that the author has very fond memories of her family and the time they spent on their almost 9 acre farm in Oregon. The author has trouble separating herself from the characters in her book no matter how hard she tries. Throughout the book she refers to herself as the Mom character flowing freely in and out of first person narrative in one paragraph she says

The bark aroused the whole family, Father, Jim, Heather and Mom continued watching...

One paragraph later she says:

I was sure our nearest neighbor who lived over half a mile away could hear all the goings-on!

Seemingly referring to the same person, this happens again and again.
Another blatantly obvious example of the authors attempt to blend her real live past with some level of fiction is in the illustrations. Vong's simple but descriptive drawings and watercolors are scattered throughout the book along with photographs of Mior's family that look as though they were fished out of a shoebox. The connection between these stories and the author are understood but the photographs do nothing to add to Snip's Adventures. I would much rather see more page adornments by Vong.

I am sure these stories are fun and exciting tales when told face-to-face by someone who lived them but to turning them into a book that is expected to engage complete strangers takes a little more work. The potential is there in each chapter but The Adventures of Snip in Oregon just doesn't pull it together.

Currently "Reading":
Magazine - The article on Billy Mayes in Playboy July/August issue
Book - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
Audio - Touch and Go: A Memoir

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