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'Got Here as Soon as I Could'

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Charming look at Maine through fresh eyes

For many people, Sarah Smiley is a household name. She shares her life and her family with readers. Hailing from Florida, Smiley and her family had never been to Maine, and up until it made it onto the list of possible deployments, it had never crossed her mind to even visit, let alone live here.

Then it suddenly became a reality one that she will readily admit she wasn't prepared for, but quickly grew to love. In 'Got Here as Soon as I Could' (Down East, $19.95), she talks about the adjustments she and her family made, but also her sudden feelings of love and admiration for the state.

Smiley was kind enough to give us some of her time to talk about her book. The book itself is comprised of the columns she wrote after her family moved to Maine.

'I think when you're doing a collection of columns, it's hard to go back and read yourself from several years ago,' she said in a phone interview. 'If you had an opportunity to meet your younger self, you want to kick them and say, Why did you do those things?' I've done them and they're all there in a permanent record.'

She said there are even some ideas that she wrote about that readers called her on; now that she has had time to reflect, she realizes that sometimes they're right.

'In the past, when critics have been hard on me for a view on something, I've been able to look back and agree with the critics,' she said.

Smiley has a good sense of humor one both disarming and self-deprecating - about being from away. That humor along with a genuine warmth for her surroundings is something that she felt appealed to many readers.

'I felt that people liked seeing it through my eyes and having it be new to them,' said Smiley. 'Now that I've been here as long as I have, some things are routine. Now, when I meet someone new here, I go Oh yeah, that is kind of unusual up here.'

But despite acclimating to the area she hopes she doesn't lose her sense of wonder at the aesthetic beauty of the state.

'I hope I never lose my awe at the beautiful scenery,' she said. 'I seriously could not find an ugly part of Maine. Everywhere I looked it was just beautiful. Beautiful mountains and leaves I have to stop and remind myself the rest of the world isn't like this. But when you spend enough time around it, it becomes normal. I hope I can always stay appreciative.'

The book is broken into various topics, including her welcome to the state and all its new weather, getting used to the 'Way Life Is,' raising kids in Maine, baseball and marriage and other things. It's an intimate look into her and her family's life - enough so that she is stopped in the grocery store on occasion when a reader recognizes one of her son's names.

Smiley's easy-to-read prose is full of warmth and humor; it will remind you why you love the state.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 12:22

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