My Life and Adventures: a novel
New York, St. Martin’s Press (2002)
406 Pages Hardcover $25.95
Fleeing the wreckage of a murky diplomatic job in a chaotic Latin country, Mark Noon finds himself down and out and holed up in a squalid motel somewhere in Mexico. Desperate, he claims an odd bequest from a long-deceased family friend and comes north to move into a dilapidated farmhouse in the hills of rural Vermont.
There, Noon begins to rebuild, both the house and the fragments of his life. He comes to know the complex histories of various residents of Bible Hilll, including Orlando Applegate, the lawyer and town father who becomes Noon’s mentor, and Orlando’s troubled daughter, Amanda, who captures Noon’s heart and begins to share her life with him. With her help and that of a cast of others, living and dead, local and from-away, respectable and otherwise, Noon learns to embrace his new community and to thrive there.
My Life and Adventures sets the haunted and transcendentalist New England of Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Emerson side by side with the dope farmers and llama herders, survivalists and leaf-peepers of our day. The result is a delightful, unusual novel of one man’s estrangement and homecoming.
We had roads that went no place, villages that had disappeared, strange animals and birds, a vanished aristocracy of the mad, trains that weren’t there, witty lawyers. It was that kind of place altogether, Bible Hill. Still is.
“In a distinctive voice, with perfect pitch, Freeman reveals the entrancing musings of his wayward philosopher hero who quotes lyrics from Motown and passages from Hawthorne with equal facility.”—Booklist
“Readers who enjoy unconventional narrative will find Freeman’s realistic, down-to-earth prose and wry humor rewarding.”—Library Journal
“The strength of Freeman’s work is not just in his skillful depiction of Noon’s personal evolution, but in his well-crafted sketches of the Bible Hill crowd.” —Publishers Weekly
“There are no stock lines, phrases, or situations in this novel. Everything has a fresh twist.”—The Boston Globe
“The wonderful story of a fascinating off-the-beaten-path corner of New England. Told with great humor, originality, and skill . . . My Life and Adventures celebrates the human and natural history of a special place whose like will not be seen again. What’s more, it’s a barrel of fun to read.”—Howard Frank Mosher