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The Devil Went Down to Mehville

Erin was not enamoured with the earnest Canadian famers and the Nicest Mafia Ever in Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.

The Devil Went Down to Mehville

BOOK REPORT for Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Ernest Goes to Farm
Bonus Factors: Fiddling, Conservation, Jamesons
Relationship Status: Match.com Date, I'm Just Not That Into You

The Deal:

Molly McClure lives in a tiny village on a tiny island off the coast of Vancouver and not, as you might expect from her name, in a movie making fun of Irish people starring Errol Flynn. The year is 2041, and the world has pretty much run out of oil. What's left is strictly controlled by government entities, and not doled out to the citizens. (P.S. When we actually run out of oil, everything left will be controlled by Russia, so start increasing your vodka consumption now. And learn how to walk on 5-inch stilettos in the snow.)

Molly and her family are pretty lucky, because their island remains mostly untouched, with lots of land to farm and raise livestock. And everyone in the small, close-knit community help each other. But Molly's mother is pregnant and put on bedrest, and very worried about her father (Molly's grandfather), from whom they have not heard since his wife had a stroke and maybe died. Communication is sort of scarce in 2041, in case you hadn't noticed.

So Molly takes a journey down to Oregon, where the grandparents live, in order to convince her grandfather - and grandmother, if alive - to come back and live in the tiny island village in Canada. When she gets there, she finds The Nicest Mafia Ever, a drunk neighbor, two cute kids and a vegetable garden.

Can she escape The Nicest Mafia Ever? Can she convince her grandfather to come back to Canada? Will the farm get harvested in time?

BFF Charm: Meh

Okay, look. Molly's nice enough, in that sort of earnest Canadian way where she really wants to do good and have people like her. And she fiddles - ALL THE TIME - which I should like, because I'm sort of a nerd for Celtic and Bluegrass music. And I'm also pretty sure that Molly could find me some damn heirloom tomatoes which seem to be TOTALLY ABSENT FROM THE TEXAS GULF COAST RIGHT NOW so that I could have a nice summer salad of tomatoes and burrata cheese. So I should want to give her a BFF charm.

But lord, is this chick boring. I'm just not sure I could hang with Molly for any significant amount of time. I'd want to go break into government buildings and rewire solar panels, and she'd want to harvest okra and turn it into a stew. We're just different people, you know? Like, I'm cool and she's not. It doesn't make either of us wrong, except for how it totally does because moss is more exciting than Molly is, but I just don't think we could hang.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Molly falls for a guy named Spill, who works for The Nicest Mafia Ever. Because of his connections to The Nicest Mafia Ever, he's able to get Molly and her family things, plus get internet access for Molly to contact her family. (No clue what's powering the computer, or the internet providers' server farms, since there's no power.) And the romance is nice enough- some secret kisses and swoony moments. But I just found that I really, really didn't care. Spill is nearly as boring as Molly is, and he works for the mob! I mean, come on!

Talky Talk: Ernest Goes to Farm

I like Canadians; I do. Canada has given me lots of cool stuff. I mean, there are Canadians that everybody knows, like Leonard Cohen or Michael J Fox. But did you know that Joni Mitchell is Canadian? And Kiefer Sutherland! That's right, Jack Bauer is Canadian! I mean, he shouldn't even be in a position of authority at CTU! But then, CTU has the worst hiring practices ever - they're always hiring moles and double-agents - so I doubt they even know he's Canadian.

Anyway, my point is, Canada is home to lots of awesome people and things. However, it is also home to the most earnest fucking people I've ever met in my life. Canadians care, man. About everything. It's so exhausting.

This book was full of "feeling words," which the sensitivity counselors that they hire at work tell me I'm supposed to use with my coworkers, so that I stop scaring them and making them quit. But I'm sorry; it's the apocalypse. I can't be bothered caring about your feelings; I have a dystopian government to take down!

Bonus Factor: Fiddling

As previously mentioned, I'm sort of a nerd for Celtic and Bluegrass music (and if you're wondering, no, I didn't date a lot in high school). Molly has a fiddle and she saws on it and plays it hot. Sadly, however, she never jumps up on a hickory stump and says, "Boy, let me tell you what."

(P.S. I got that photo from a website called FIDDLING AROUND. You're welcome!)

Bonus Factor: Conservation

Seriously you guys, I would NOT do well in a post-apocalyptic wasteland without power. So let's work on alternative fuel-sources so I can remain in cool comfort until I die of old age! (I pretty much don't care what happens after that, though, so feel free to waste resources after I'm dead.) And, while we're at it, let's find me a new career, because the second we lose our dependence on foreign oil, I'm out of a job.

Bonus Factor: Jamesons

I like a book with a lot of HELL YES! factors. You know, when you're reading and all of a sudden you HAVE to pump your fist because, well, hell yes! This book . . . didn't so much have those moments (read: earnest). However, at one point, Molly unearths AN ENTIRE CASE OF JAMESONS IN HER GRANDFATHER'S BASEMENT. An entire case!! Do you KNOW how awesome a discovery that would be???

Of course, Molly then goes and sells the alcohol for cash so she can get back to Canada, because Molly hates joy.

Casting Call:

Miley Cyrus as Molly

When I tried to think of someone who portrayed earnestness and maybe also could fiddle, I naturally thought of Miley Cyrus. It's the teeth.

David Anders as Spill

Oh, I realize that A) this is giving Spill FAR more credit than he deserves, and B) David Anders is like 45, but if I'm going to watch this movie, I need some sort of draw, plus C) I've been rewatching Alias lately, so you get what you get! And David Anders' actual midwestern accent is HILARIOUS.

Relationship Status: Match.com Date, I'm Just Not That Into You

So, I've never internet dated. It's bad enough when you date someone and then dump them and it's hella-awkward and it ruins your favorite bar/restaurant/city/decade. But ruining the internet too? No thank you!

But if I had ever internet dated, I think I would have been interested in this book! Its profile says that it's a post-apocalyptic thrill ride, AND it likes fiddling AND its name is Molly McClure, which would mean we could have the Most Irish-Named Family Ever. So I went out on a date with this book, and I have to say . . . I'm just not that into it! And I think it sort of fibbed on its profile, cause, um, a post-apocalyptic thrill ride? About FARMING? I don't think so.

Plus, it THINKS it's so bad-ass, because it has connections to the mafia, but it's The Nicest Mafia Ever. (Seriously, in this book, the mafia lets someone bargain out their insane gambling debt with some zucchini. Fuck's sake.) So I don't think it's nearly as bad-ass as it thinks it is.

And now, of course, I feel guilty, cause I was really excited to hang out with this book, but it bored me so much that I had to text my BFF from the bathroom and have them do the "emergency call" in ten minutes, where I pretend my cat/brother/grandma is in a tree/jail/traction and then leave. No, please don't call me again, book. Let's shake hands and part ways. It's not me; it's you.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free ARC I received from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!)Restoring Harmony will be released on May 13, 2010.

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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