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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "My Own Cape Cod" by Gladys Taber
By Milton M. Gross
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:00:01 PM

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My Own Cape Cod was interesting, although we've only been there once, right after Dolores' operation for a brain aneurysm. My major experience then was meeting a woman walking her cat. Dolores' was spending time in our motel because, strangely after brain surgery, she had a headache. Milt Gross photo.
This 1971 book reminds me of Louise Dickinson Rich's books, only instead of being about the woods of western Maine or the Gouldsboro, Maine, peninsula, where Rich lived, it's about Cape Cod.

I used to live, in another life, that was before meeting Dolores, about 50 miles from the woods about which Rich wrote. Now we're on the coast in Searsport, still not near Cape Cod.

Since 1971 when Gladys Taber wrote her Cape Cod Book, things had livened up a good bit when were there about 20 years ago. If the Cape continued to become more busy -- and touristy -- I think I'm afraid to go there again.

But Taber wrote about a quieter Cape, kind of like rural Maine was when I visited as a kid. Taber built a house at Still Cove near which is Mill Pond. She writes mostly about her neighborhood. But she does include a geological history going back 50,000 to 70,000 years, when she said the Cape was left when a sheet of ice from Labrador finally melted and, as Taber puts it, "Cape Cod was born."

This is similar to pre-historic tales I've heard of much of Maine, including what is now Acadia National Park. In that park, atop the Bubble (low mountain) rests a rock said to have traveled some 30 or more miles from what is now Bucksport.

Taber writes in this true recollection about the people, mostly, the storekeeper, the electrician, neighbors, and more. Her tale is a homey one, and, as I said earlier, her style is a lot like Louise Dickinson Rich's. Of course, I knew a man who had worked for Rich at her cabin in the woods. I don't know anyone who worked at Cape Cod.

Taber's writing style is homey, maybe too homey at times, since I decided (not having known the people about whom she was writing) that no one could be as friendly as some of those about whom she wrote. But her descriptions of the Cape in the very early 1970s was good, the ponds, the ducks, the seagulls, and other critters that weren't human.

This edition of My Own Cape Cod was published in 1981 by Parnassus Imprints by an arrangement with Harper & Row. The price on the back cover of my paperback copy that Dolores found somewhere is $6.95. Amazon.com's price for a hardcover copy is from $5.94 up to $34.05. Amazon.com sells several editions, each priced differently.

I think it is worthwhile reading if you're interested in a personal view of Cape Cod in the 1970s, or if you're interested generally in Cape Cod.

You can't borrow my copy, as I'm planning to keep and reread it some cold winter day, when I need to think about sun, ocean, sand, and other Cape Cody scenes.

Not a great book, but an interesting one.


Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014


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