Hannah Mercer has recently lost her family and is left alone and broke. She decides to sell her family farm and adopt a nomadic lifestyle by establishing a mobile store and living quarters in the back of her truck. As she travels through the countryside with her store, she begins to find and cherish the meaning of life in the numerous relationships that she makes along the way. Her nature and demeanor allow her to become the soul of these bonds that she forms, creating an intricate network that instills meaning back into her life.
Goods & Effects by Al Schnupp is an appealing story that follows a resilient woman who has just lost everything through a journey spanning almost 20 years of her life. It portrays the country life in detailed fashion, giving proper attention to each character. Nathan – the owner of the motel where Hannah usually parks her truck, LeRoy – a black farmer who is often the subject of racial violence, Darla – an aspiring and talented but deaf artist, Velma – the owner of a woodworking shop, Wanda – a receptionist at a hardware distribution store, and Frank – a farmer whose wife has a chronic disease, and numerous others are beautifully and flawlessly integrated into the journey of our protagonist, ensuring the seamless flow of the plot.
Al Schnupp has done a fantastic job in delivering the perspective of a single, recently-widowed, working woman navigating the cultural as well as social obstacles in the mid-twentieth century. The developments of the characters and the settings are so elaborate and intricately woven that they have the ability to transport you as you read. The words touch the reader deeply, creating a strong connection with the people in the story. Hannah’s story can be anyone’s and there are people out there in her situation. This book should help provide them the inspiration and clear path on which to build their lives back again. One of the best books I have read on finding meaning and purpose while nourishing the humanity of those we come into contact with. It is a work of sheer beauty and ingenuity, written into the human condition.