Poet and essayist Blunt grew up on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1950s and 60s, where "indoor plumbing" meant a door on the privy and "running water" was a fast ranch wife with two buckets. A natural tomboy, happiest around animals, Blunt dreaded leaving childhood. The gender rules of ranch life were unyielding: women married and kept to their kitchens, and they didn't own property or make decisions about the ranch. When puberty came, she did her best to hide all evidence of her sex, wearing a big coat and even lancing her growing breasts, the way she'd drain a cow's abscessed jaw. After finishing high school in town she returned to the family ranch, only to find she had no place of value there. So she accepted the inevitable: marriage to a man from a neighboring ranch. For 12 years Blunt lived in self-denial sneaking cigarettes, creeping into the calving shed to do the work she knew better than any man and bearing three children who were all she could call her own when she finally decided to leave. While she doesn't shy away from writing about hard times, Blunt's attention to detail and dry humor make this debut emboldening rather than depressing (e.g., her observation that one-room schoolhouses weren't great, but they afforded unintentional exposure to lessons a few years in advance). Her writing inspires respect for rural life and its "intimacy born of isolation, rather than blood relation." In this world without TV or books, with mail once a week at best, "a good story rose to the surface of conversation like heavy cream." Blunt's own story is so rich and genuine, readers will clean their plates and ask for seconds. (Feb. 12)Forecast: With an eight-city author tour, an NPR appearance, advertising to the literary community and word of mouth about this fine writer, sales should be considerable. Blunt's treatment of parental discipline, sibling relationships and town vs. country ways will appeal to readers far beyond Big Sky country.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Blunt was raised on a ranch in Montana, miles from the nearest town, and attended a one-room school where she and her siblings made up the majority of the students. On the ranch, she learned how to handle the day-to-day work of farm life and to remain in a subservient role to men. Eventually, after marriage and children, she abandoned ranch life for college and began writing award-winning poetry. In this nonfiction debut, Blunt proves to be a skillful writer, using beautiful prose to describe how she learned to survive in what remains a man's world. Unfortunately, she does not discuss in enough detail how the ranch life shaped her and made her want to "break clean." Thus, though her narrative is enjoyable to read, it carries no social implications. Collections with material on farm life or women in nontraditional careers will want to consider this title. Otherwise, this is not a necessary purchase. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
Evidently, a lot of the story is fictional. Disappointing at best!Published 23 days ago by susan e. tillman
Loved it! A different kind of biography as it doesn't just follow chronologically. Some of her life is gut-wrenching.Published 2 months ago by stephanie baker
I purchased this book after reading an excerpt from an Anthology of Montana's Women Writers. I was disappointed to find the excerpt was the 'best' part of the story (literally). Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
A well written, engaging look into the author's childhood and the struggle that lead to adulthood. Considering how strongly she connected with the vast landscape and how that love... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kristine K. Stevens
This is one book I will remember for a lifetime. This woman can write! Her discriptive phrasing and simplistic manner of dealing with challenges of everyday living on the ranch are... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Francine Pizzicara
brings me home, Love to read personal stories. It was recommended for a common discussion. I like Blunt's way of writing.Published 17 months ago by mtsunrise
Judy Blunt's memoir describes growing up in a very rural area of Montana on a cattle ranch. Major themes include how women are treated as subordinate and subservient to men, and... Read morePublished 18 months ago by E. S. Charpentier
I'm not sure how a reader who has never experienced a winter in Phillips county Montana could fully comprehend BREAKING CLEAN. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lynn McCord
Breaking Clean is a well written book with plenty of vivid scenes of the last American Frontier to be settled, and the end of the last pioneer families to settle our great northern... Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by Fyrecurl