Prairie Reunion
by Barbara J. Scot

Riverhead Books, 1995. ISBN 1573225827.
Reviewed by Susan Wittig Albert
Posted on 01/08/2001

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Nature/Place/Environment;Nonfiction: Relationships

In the mid-'40s, Barbara Scot's father abandoned his wife and two children and ran off with another woman, leaving behind a mortgaged farm and a pile of debts. He committed suicide in 1950, but his wife Katherine continued to live in the small Iowa town and to attend the Presbyterian Church that was witness to her shame. Years later, Scot returns to the town, to her grandfather's house, and to the farm that her mother defended, to try to understand the truth. What compelled her mother to remain? What compelled her father to flee? What combination of church and land loyalty and family heritage created this singularly American tragedy? As she answers these questions, Scot also movingly discovers a real father: her uncle Jim, who kept her safe and taught her to love nature and the world. Scot's story reminds us that the truth is never simple, and that we are all woven into an intricate web that stretches back into time and deep into community and culture. If you're looking for a book to help you understand a father's abandonment and a mother's determination, this powerful story offers some important insights.

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