4 out of 4 stars
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Fed up with the freezing winters in Minnesota, Rachel and Nick Christenson decided to move to Oregon. This decision came after researching different areas and realizing that Oregon most fit in with their requirements of a new place to live; affordable, plenty of land, and warmer than northern Minnesota. If Nick retired early, they could live off his pension. Rachel could also relinquish her job as a child-welfare counselor, which she had become disillusioned with. Nick had suffered some minor strokes previously, but he seemed to improve upon moving to Oregon.
Rachel met her neighbor Ruth soon after moving, and they became close friends. Their homes were within sight of the ocean, except there were trees on the neighboring uninhabited land that were obstructing their views. Because they didn’t mind breaking a few rules if the risk of getting caught was low, Rachel and Ruth began slowly removing the trees.
One day, Nick had another stroke, and soon after that, he had the one that caused his demise. Rachel discovers that she would only get about a hundred dollars a month in income from her husband’s pension. With no job opportunities and several years before she will be eligible for social security, she is now in a financial dilemma. Rachel and Ruth have to put their heads together to come up with a solution to the problem that doesn’t involve dangerous activities like drugs or robbing banks. Unfortunately, Vivian, another neighbor, is becoming suspicious that things aren’t as they seem at their homes. She is a greedy, vindictive woman who won’t hesitate to get them into trouble.
A Few Trivial Felonies by Sandra Sperling is an absolutely hilarious book with a surprising twist at the end. The cover page caught my attention right away and enticed me to read the story. The 280-page novel is written from the third-person point of view, mostly from Rachel and Vivian’s perspectives. The author’s straightforward, descriptive prose comes across as a little crude at times, but it fits the personalities of the characters. An example is when their drain fields froze while in Minnesota, causing them to construct a temporary, illegal outhouse from “a cardboard and lathe freezer crate”: “He built the bench so high that when she sat on the icy platform her feet dangled uncomfortably. She contracted an intestinal bug and suffered from the green-drizzling s**ts for an entire week, expressing her scathing opinion of the frigid region on the toilet walls with a red marker.” It had me chuckling early in the story and laughing out loud at other times. The humor represented my favorite aspect of the book.
The character development was superbly written, making me feel as though I knew Rachel and Ruth especially. They had several attributes in common, both being fearless and tough Minnesota women living off their husbands’ pensions, who were willing to break a few rules.
No sex was described in the book, although scenes were encountered in which nudity was used to create comedy. There were some profanities in the novel. Subsequently, children or sensitive readers might want to consider something else to read.
Only three minor errors were encountered in the entire book, causing me to think it was professionally edited. There was nothing about the novel that I didn’t like; therefore, as this story was a pleasure to read, it achieves a rating of four out of four stars. It is enthusiastically recommended to readers who enjoy captivating, well-written tales with a lot of humor and some crime thrown in for good measure. Readers who feel the law shouldn’t be disregarded under any circumstances might not enjoy the novel very much, although I think almost everyone will get a kick out of it. I look forward to reading her next book.
A Few Trivial Felonies
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