About now you're probably starting to wonder if I read any books that aren't made into movies because, once again, my Friday Favorite has been made into a movie, Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm. Although I'll bet most of you haven't heard of the movie. The movie, released in 1996, stars Kate Beckinsale, Rufus Sewell, and Ian McKellan. I love this movie so I was excited to see that it was originally a book. Then I was nervous. What if I hated the book and it ruined the movie? Hurray! The book had every bit of the charm, wit and whimsy of the movie--or, more accurately, the movie had every bit of the book's charm, wit and whimsy since the book was originally published in 1932.
Flora Poste is a young society lady who suddenly finds herself an orphan. She most definitely does not want to get a job so decides she will need to live off her relatives. But which ones? After rejecting a number of offers, Flora chooses to move to Cold Comfort Farm, home of the Starkadders because she feels that they will provide her with a project. To say that the people on Cold Comfort Farm are a bunch of country bumpkins is an understatement. But Flora immediately sets to work to make their lives "better," although her motives are not altruistic.
The book is a wonderful satire of the melodramas of D. H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy and a parody of the rural novels so popular at the time it was written. Okay--that sounds boring doesn't it? Pretend like you didn't just read the names Lawrence and Hardy because you don't have to have been depressed by them to enjoy this book. The characters in this book are wonderful--a recluse aunt, a hellfire preacher, and an oversexed cousin obsessed with the "talkies" (who also happens to be in charge of the farm's bull). Even the names will make you laugh: Ada Doom, Elfin, Urk and the cows are Feckless, Pointless, Aimless and Graceless while the bull is Big Business. This book is just great fun! It's a shame that Gibbon's other works are no longer in print.