Book Report: Brood

It’s rained nearly all day again today. The younger folks saw it was going to rain yesterday and took off for the beach, leaving us hermits to fend for ourselves. Lee was handed a bunch of paperwork before Kathleen left, so he had a project. All my original plans for the weekend were outdoor ones, so I had to regroup. Knit? No, my project is too fuzzy and hot. I decided to read. so, here’s another book report.

A few days ago, one of my old LLL friends shared Brood, by Jackie Polzin, and said the description reminded her of me. I looked at it, saw it was about a woman and her small flock of chickens, and ordered it.

Brood is Polzin’s first novel. Her style is spare and graceful. She tells us just enough to feel moved by her experiences but not so much that you can’t picture yourself in her shoes.

As someone who randomly got chickens and found their habits fascinating and their propensity to die at the drop of a hat pretty confusing, I emphasized a lot with the experiences of the unnamed protagonist of Brood. And her life, while not like mine, mirrored many of my experiences in a broad way. She seems to just float through life, following others, while getting her joy from her ability to control the quality of her avocation (for her, it was cleaning and for me it was knitting).

Anyway, this book packs a subtle but sizable wallop. I got out of it that paying attention to the now is how to lead an authentic and satisfying life. I find that Polzin does a very credible job of demonstrating the centeredness that can come from feeling okay with the transience of everything you care about.

You know, just writing about this little gem of a story made me realize that Brood has helped me see the good in some of my quirks and the validity of some of my awkwardly existentialist/Buddhist leanings.

I feel like reading this every few months, even though I know the plot. The plot is the least important part of Brood for me. I had no idea this novel about a lady in Minnesota and her four chickens would move me. It did!