The Mapmaker’s Children: Small Town Living

This post was inspired by The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy, a novel about two women are connected by an Underground Railroad doll. Join From Left to Write on May 19th as we discuss The Mapmaker’s Children. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


There are very few books that I’ve read for the book club that I haven’t liked, but this book stands out as one of my favorites! I love how the book weaves bits and pieces of history with two fictional storylines, it makes you believe that the whole novel could have happened.

I also feel like I could have taken this non-traditional review in a myriad of directions, but I feel like I’ve talked about a few of them a lot (miscarriage) or recently (teaching history).  It would be easy for me to take one of those topics, so let’s go with something that I haven’t really talked about. Small Town Living vs. Suburban Life.

I grew up in a very small town, so small that my high school was made up of at least eight different towns and our graduating class was still in the 200’s.


Hello Vermont

As soon as I graduated high school I went to a small private college in northern Vermont, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I ended up at a college in Worcester, MA, maybe not the best city, but it was certainly more entertaining than anywhere in Vermont. After graduation Nick and I ended up in Somerville, MA, just outside Boston. Even though we moved around a bit in that area, we eventually ended up in a suburb 15 minutes north of the city.

I don’t have any qualms with small town living, there are tons of perks. I never needed to lock my car doors, I didn’t think twice about working third shift at a convenience store (although maybe that was a bit naive), and I was pretty trusting of the majority of people. BUT everyone knew your shit, and I mean everyone. Nothing was a private matter, and people would gossip endlessly.

Obviously, suburban or city life can be a bit more intimidating. The closer you are to an urban area the more likely there is for dangerous things to happen near your home or town. I believe you can find pockets of  communities that mimic small town life. Neighborhoods with lots of kids, school communities, etc… I also find that people aren’t always poking in your private business and spreading that gossip around, at least that’s been my experience.

I don’t hate small town life, it molded me into part of the person I am, I do know that I could never go back to that type of living.

Are you a small town lifer or do you prefer to be near an urban center?

6 thoughts on “The Mapmaker’s Children: Small Town Living

  1. This was definitely one of my favorite books too! :]! I love historical fiction, so I liked how this wove that in. :] I grew up in suburbia, but for med school, I moved to a tinytiny town with about 3000 people. I like small town life a lot (people are a lot friendlier!), and don’t think I’d be very happy in a city, but I do miss the food diversity and such that that would offer. I think the biggest I’d go back to would be suburbia (or on the outskirts of a city)!

  2. I grew up in a small town and disliked it! Everyone was always watching and they had certain expecations for you. You weren’t allowed to stray from your “path.”

  3. I’m from a small town too but not as small as yours! I miss some things (pretty safe for one!) but I don’t miss EVERYONE KNOWING EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. That part sucked.

    What’s funny is we bought our house in a pretty small town, too… Guess I’ll be subjecting my future children to the same thing.

  4. I grew up in a smaller town but went to Catholic high school and graduated with a class of about 90 people! The biggest downside was indeed that people had you pegged. I ended up at a large university because I wanted to be a number, in a way (not realizing that any smaller college would have been a clean break, too….)

    The worst part about living in a small town was that you could get in an accident and by the time you got home, your parents knew.

  5. I always call my hometown of Minneapolis,MN “a big small town”. Even though it has a large population, there are so many ways that people are connected. I’m always amazed by how small it is.

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