It is fitting for today’s world when so much has gone awry that we take a moment to look at lives of purpose, of promise, and of wisdom. In times such as these, this inauspicious little book, based on experiences in an obscure town in South Alabama, is the one you should reach for. It will transport you to a period of hope and a place of experimentation. It may well be just what you and the rest of America needs.
The Fair Hope of Heaven is now for sale on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Its appeal is wider than just the little town that spawned it. It addresses the search for meaning and the dreams of men and women of the past, present, and future. Reviewers have already written of it:
Daniel Spiro, Washington, D.C. attorney and author of The Creed Room and Moses The Heretic, writes: “Some dreams are realistic, some are utopian. I would almost put in the latter category my dream of someday writing a book with the exquisite timing of this one. One day, we find ourselves living in the very prototype of an advanced capitalist society; a few months later, Newsweek adorns its cover with the inscription, 'We Are All Socialists Now.' Or are we? When you read Mary Lois Timbes' newest work on Fairhope, Alabama, you might not use the word 'socialist' quite so glibly. This is a charming, breezy read about a town founded roughly a century ago on the belief in the idea of Henry George, who argued that land is the only commodity that should be taxed at all, and all citizens should share equitably in the fruits of those taxes. But ... as Ms. Timbes tell us, Fairhope was not socialist. It was, in fact, the model of an individualistic society in the sense of celebrating the diversity and accepting the eccentricities of its residents - the kind of characters who typically would be ostracized in small towns and lost in big ones.
“Reading about Fairhope would be a delightful experience at any time, but it is especially valuable now, when we are all questioning some of the assumptions upon which our economic thinking have been based for so long. Get ready to experience a place where you probably wished you could live - you'll revel in the outstanding accomplishments of its residents of yesteryear, and wonder why the residents of today aren't more interested in returning the town to the glories of its past. Such is always the curse of utopias - like euphoria itself, they never last.”
Dr. Paul M. Gaston, Professor Emeritus of Southern History at the University of Virginia, and author of Women of Fair Hope, E.B.Gaston, Man and Mission, and the upcoming autobiography Coming of Age in Utopia: The Odyssey of an Idea, has this to say about The Fair Hope of Heaven: “With insight and sensitivity, Mary Lois Timbes recalls and reveals the Fairhope utopian colony as it once was and has become. The biographical sketches of some of the colony's unique characters will delight those who knew them and attract those who meet them here for the first time.”
Perdita Buchan, author of Utopia, New Jersey, wrote this review: “The Fair Hope of Heaven is a charming evocation of the town on Mobile Bay that began as a utopian experiment - and of the many unusual and appealing characters who made it their home from its beginning in 1894 to the present. Eccentric they may have been, but they lived lives valuable to themselves and the community. And it is valuable to have them remembered.”
Numerous friends have contributed to the commentary about The Fair Hope of Heaven. The following quotes are from emails from some who got a look at advance copies of the book:
“Enjoyed it thoroughly,” writes Rupert Schmitt, aka the man in my garage; Azo, AZ
“Delightful,” Rex Anderson, Mardi Grass Lawn Maintenance; Mobile, AL
“I will be very happy to write a glowing review of your wonderful book…I read it almost nonstop, and when I finished I reread it and digested it more thoroughly. It was beautifully written.” Vance Rockwell, contractor, Pensacola, FL
It is essential to my success as a writer that both amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com get numerous orders for the book before the end of February. If you never buy another book, or even read one, go to either of these websites immediately and order a copy. Now is the time for readers of Finding Myself in Hoboken to take that next step and buy a book by its writer.
Too small for a doorstop, the book may serve any number of other purposes. It will make a wonderful gift to someone who admires people with extraordinary lives. Reading is good for you. It's not fattening. It will make you feel good, even if you never heard of Fairhope, Alabama, and didn't know you would want to. You want to now. Do it. Then let me know what you think.