I feel like this book gets so much praise and adulation that I can push back on it a little without being too unfair. I grew up a few miles from where this memoir “takes place” so to speak, and I genuinely mean a few miles, like we could ride our bikes there, and did, while only crossing one main road. I didn’t actually know that in the sense that I’ve know about this book for a long time as it’s quite famous and won numerous prizes. I made it about 20 pages in when I started to have that feeling of “being had” and that comes from a few places. Like I said, I grew up right near here and I was born a few years after this book was published. Also, this area of the state, and this area of the county, has changed in a lot of ways in those years, but also not, if you get my meaning. Some of the very particular businesses in this area are ways older than the time period this book inhabits, and even my elementary school, about 4-5 miles from Tinker Creek was also the elementary school my mom went to in the 1950s, and my grandma in the 1930s. I even know the pet store she mentions. So the book is a meditation on nature and metaphysics while inhabiting natural spaces. And the book is compared in almost every review to Walden, which is perfect, as Walden is also a bit of subterfuge. Walden was barely in “nature” and neither in Tinker Creek. One of the things that seems so odd to me is that the book mentions Roanoke only twice — once to name the Roanoke River which Tinker Creek feeds into, and once to mention a “pet store in Roanoke”. But here’s the thing: Tinker Creek is in Roanoke, and Tinker Creek is just like….in a neighborhood in the suburbs. Even when she talks about “Carvins Cove” as a kind of reservoir and large pond with a nature preserve and hiking trails, all of which is more or less true, she doesn’t mention that it’s man-made stocked pond that people can fish and that, again, it’s just off the same road the comes from the highway. She mentions some hiking trails, which I like and provide great views, but they’re super busy places, and were then too. Roanoke is a town (a city plus county with some level of divide, but not that much) of 200,000 people or so, and has been around for about 200 years. It’s been a cite of industry, post-industry, and the recent rise in my lifetime of commerce, and now has a little upswing with some redneck/hippie vibe. But this book almost pretends that Roanoke is some either faraway town (she reverts to calling her area Hollins, which is “true” in a sense, but is just a suburb) and seems to suggest a level of nature and rural life that’s just not true. And because the book doesn’t present it as a contrast or among or anything like, it feels dishonest to me.