Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wooden Spoons: a novel by Dennis Ruane

My daughter pointed out a novel that she thought I might be interested in. It’s called “Wooden Spoons” by Dennis Ruane. It is promoted as a novel about life, death, love and art. The title and description intrigued me so I bought the novel and read it. It was easy reading and a good summer vacation novel; more like a made-for-TV movie than a great work of fiction, but enjoyable none the less.

It is about a professor who abandons his position at the university, leaves his wife and isolates himself on his old family homestead on a mountain top in southwestern Pennsylvania. He lives in the old ways and begins carving wooden spoons. Don’t expect a lot of details on the wood carving itself. That area is presented in a pretty general manner. The novel touches on themes like: finding out what you were meant to do in life, and then having the courage to do it; preserving historical sites; making utilitarian things from wood with hand tools in the traditional manner; and focusing on what is important in life. All good stuff.  There is a plot conflict with a treacherous land developer that makes things interesting, and a nice ending.

“Wooden Spoons” is a semi-autobiographical novel. The author Dennis Ruane grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania like the character in the book. Also, like the character, Dennis abandoned a career in science to become a full time wood carver. More than just a carver, Dennis is a creative wood artist. Visit his website at:, to will see examples of his work.

You can buy a used (like new) paperback on Amazon for about $10. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, your blog really covers a wide variety of things wood related, even this tenuously connected book/topic. I am glad you liked the book, but I am going to pass.
PS as i choose anonymous to place my comment I am reminded of a funny help call I recently had...remind me to tell you about it...