Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Sun Farmer

A friend of mine went to a local bookstore to hear Michael McCarthy read from and talk about his new book The Sun Farmer (Ivan R. Dee, 2007). The book tells the story of an Illinois farmer’s devastating accident—while pulling a propane tank with his tractor—resulting in third degree burns covering 93% of his body. McCarthy documents the 45-year-old farmer’s 14-month-stay in the burn unit at The University of Wisconsin in Madison and his subsequent attempts at rehabilitating back into the farming life.

In another time and place my friend knew the wife of the injured farmer in McCarthy’s book. They attended high school together, and after listening to the author speak here in Chicago, my friend made the touching gesture of purchasing six copies of this book to give to the members of our book club. We will be meeting in two weeks to discuss it. I would not have known about this book were it not for my friend. But I am moved by it. I learned much about the science of artificial skin; advancements in burn treatments; the small, family farm; and the farming community.

I learned much about my friend, too.


Johnny Yen said...

Didn't the New York Times have a story about him a while back? If I recall, part of the treatment was to deliberately put him in a coma for a while.

Kathy said...

Yeah, they kept him under for about six months.

The author first wrote about Ted Fink and his family in the Wall Street Journal.

Johnny Yen said...

That's where I read it. My landlord used to own a company that delivered the Journal and other publications. Funny-- I've probably picked up the Wall Street Journal five times in the last 7 or 8 years, and I read that story.