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.

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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.

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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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