I love reading memoir and I love reading anything about farming and nature (I grew up on a farm), so I wanted to love The Education of Mr. Whippoorwill: A Country Boyhood by David Zieroth (Macfarlane Walter and Ross). And I tried. I kept plodding through it long after I had lost interest, but at the end I concluded that the author and I were in agreement: he had no idea why he had written it and I had no idea why I had read it. In my secret heart I believe that a good memoir is more than the recording of a sequence of events; it is like a great novel—it has a narrative line and it has colour, energy, insight, ideas. Great memoirs shine a light on the endless tangle of human peculiarities and give us a glimpse into ourselves. We love them because not only do they read like great novels—that is to say, stories—they have the added edge of being about real people, however fictionalized the details of their true lives may be. Zieroth’s book has a tang of memoir, a flavour of what it might have been, a sepia sense that there was a good story here, but it got away and escaped across the prairie somewhere. Zieroth is an award-winning writer and is clearly a nice man, but while this story is probably of interest to his friends and family, sadly, it wasn’t of much interest to me.