In Not a Perfect Fit: Stories from Jane's World, author Jane A. Schmidt offers a collection of random memories chronicling her life in concise, three-to-four page anecdotes. The stories were originally published in her community newspaper and tap youthful memories and adult life experiences. From stories of her early family vacations and youthful neighborhood adventures to those of her working life and her off-grid country living and eventual modernizing of her home, Jane offers self-depreciating and humorous accounts of her varied misadventures.
Jane's storytelling is top notch. Her writing is tight and enticing, each story offering a complete reading experience. She will have you laughing at her antics, such as when she called the local police for help with a rambunctious and raging stallion that turned out to be a mere pony. (You'll have to read her narration!) Her telling of the death of a beloved Lab, Riley, and his storage in a neighbor's freezer and eventual burial will tug at your emotions and tear ducts. And, then there is outright laughter that will come from stories such as Jane's jumbled use of language in her tale about informing a visitor that her landlord was out with his concubine when she meant combine.
Some of her pieces will also touch your soul with her reflective sense of gratitude for her health, home, animals, friendships, and community. Toward the end of the collection, she shares with us some insight. She writes, "Somewhere along this small journey, I decided that 2016 was going to be a grand year. (I) began seeing more possibilities and fewer problems...humbled by how small things can make a big difference if only we let them..."
Think of Erma Bombeck and I Love Lucy in the Amish community of rural Wisconsin and you will be able to enter Jane Schmidt's world. I read these stories in small doses, savoring a few at bedtime and enjoying them immensely.
Jane Schmidt is an award-winning columnist for the Crawford County Independent. When not teaching her fitness classes, she spends time backpacking in places like the Grand Canyon and Isle Royale, biking across Wisconsin, hiking and kayaking in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, or just hanging out with her animal family in rural Viola, Wisconsin.
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