Featured LEISURE

SR author offers ‘The Pig Farmer’s Wife’

LaVonne Misner

SR author offers ‘The Pig Farmer’s Wife’

By John Gregory

The novel titled “The Pig Farmer’s Wife” is not about farming nor is it entirely about living on a farm. In-
stead, it’s a tale about survival, resilience, ethical life decisions and human character. It’s full of twists and surprises. 

What’s most important – by some accounts – is that readers have become captivated by the characters and form opinions about their actions.

“I’ve had some people say they felt sorry for the key person, but at the same time, they had some animosity toward her,” said author LaVonne Misner, a longtime Scripps Ranch resident.

The book addresses important issues about freedoms and liberties for women – rights that are being challenged today just as they were in the past. A shining instance of how the novel stirs emotions was exemplified during a recent visit by the author to a gathering of one of the Scripps Ranch Welcome Club’s reading groups. 

“They talked about some of the characters like they were acquaintances who live in the Ranch. They had opinions about them, which was really fun,” Misner said. “They felt a kinship with the characters and the discussion sounded like they were people who they knew, and they had strong opinions about them.” 

That, in itself, is the very essence of success for any author.

Misner said she did lots of research for “The Pig Farmer’s Wife,” which explores a time in the 1950s and ’60s.

“This book is about strong, resilient women during the early stages of what we now call the second wave of feminism, which means women at that time were just beginning to realize, yes, we have the vote, but they still didn’t have monetary equality. They still needed a male overseer in order to have a credit card or any bank loans,” Misner said. “So, they realized they still didn’t have an equal hand in their lives or their world. So, that’s the setting of this book.”

The story is set in Minnesota, where the author once resided. 

“The book opens with a woman in her early college years. There’s a fire in her parents’ store, and they live in the back of the store – and (the parents) die. She is the sole inheritor of an insurance policy, but she can’t access it because she doesn’t have a male overseer,” Misner said.

There is no brother, no uncle, no one to handle the finances. The insurance company can only issue the money if there is a male who would handle her finances for her – and that person would take a large percentage. Gert, the heroine, decides the best thing to do is marry. So, she asks the boy she is dating to marry her. It’s a marriage of convenience, Misner said.  

“They marry and he buys a pig farm with the money (against her wishes),” Misner explained.

But Gert has never been around pigs and her husband uses all the money.

“She needs to adjust to farm life, which is not easy for her,” Misner said. The story unfolds from there. Gert gets left on her own, struggles to survive and establishes a new life for herself.

“She meets up with older women and they start a business. You worry about her throughout and yet she’s a strong woman,” Misner said. “The women in the novel, they are all different ages. They probably would not typically meet. Sometimes people think you put a group of women together, they’ll never get along or they’re so different … they’re not going to meld. But they do. They use their skills and their weaknesses. They help boost one another up. It’s very heartwarming to see the unification of the women when they set up this business.”

At first, the townspeople mocked the women and their business, but they eventually rallied around them.

“Even the men turned their attitudes around. They didn’t want their business to fail. They saw how important it was for the men and women to work together,” Misner said. 

The book has some very funny scenes as well as somber scenes, Misner said. Readers don’t know what’s going to happen because there are so many twists and turns, she added. 

“I’ve had good reviews where people said they didn’t get anything done that day. They sat down; they thought they would just read a chapter, and they kept reading and reading. So, it pulls you in. It’s a story and it’s an adventure,” Misner said. “I wrote this novel to encourage women to think about and discuss women’s issues, particularly during this tumultuous time when women’s health is once again being scrutinized by the courts rather than being decided upon by a woman in conjunction with her doctor.”

Misner was a professor at the University of Minnesota for 15 years. In 1987, she and her husband sold their home, resigned from their respective work lives, purchased a 50 foot sailboat and began a sailing adventure that lasted 6 1/2 years. Following that adventure, Misner wrote her memoir about their experiences titled “No More Mondays – a nautical odyssey.”

The “Pig Farmer’s Wife” is Misner’s sixth published book, and is available in bookstores and on Amazon.