The Orchard by Adele Crockett Robertston
Pub Date: October 1995
The Orchard is our 2015 A Book Grows in Topsfield title. A Book Grows in Topsfield is the name of the Topsfield Town Library’s Community Read, in which we encourage the entire community to read the same book at the same time, hosting book discussions and events related to the book along the way. A Book Grows in Topsfield kicked off on Friday, March 13th with a wonderful cabaret concert featuring music of the 30’s at the Gould Barn.
Tomorrow, March 26th is our first book discussion of The Orchard. Everyone is welcome!
A patron compared reading Robertson’s The Orchard to “running your hands over smooth velvet.” That was her assessment of Robertson’s writing style, and I thought that was beautifully put. Adele “Kitty” Crockett Robertson’s memoir about running her family’s apple orchard during the Great Depression is filled with straightforward but poetic prose, descriptions of hardship, monetary and otherwise, and anecdotes of the colorful characters she met along the way. Robertson is a natural storyteller and you get the sense that she lived a full life and must have been even more entertaining in person. Indeed, the Foreword and Epilogue–written by Kitty’s daughter, Betty Robertson Cramer, the one who discovered and published her mother’s manuscript posthumously–are just as interesting as the memoir itself. I wanted to know more about Kitty’s life, even after The Orchard.
The best part of choosing The Orchard as a Community Read title is that it truly is about our community, or at least, a very nearby community. Several patrons who have already finished this book have come in and remarked that they are familiar with the farm portrayed between the pages. Robertson, an Ipswich native, penned this memoir between 1932 and 1934, a couple of the worst years of the Depression. Not only do the themes of sacrifice, hard work, and general bleakness certainly resonate today, but being able to visit and look at the same landscapes as Kitty make this a special Community Read.
We hope you will be able to join in a book discussion or another event for A Book Grows in Topsfield!