Author Don Farmer with a proof of his book Walking Back to Happiness – A Wairarapa boy’s story. PHOTO/FILE

GRACE PRIOR
grace.prior@age.co.nz

Wairarapa readers will have a second chance at getting their hands on former Wairarapa Times-Age chief reporter Don Farmer’s book, Walking Back to Happiness.

Farmer hoped the reprint would come out by mid-December and said this would be a limited and final release

The first edition of the book sold out completely.

“Within two weeks, every copy had been sold throughout the whole Wairarapa.”

Farmer said that the book has been “so well received; it’s humbling”.

At first, Farmer did not intend to run a second edition, but demand “has got to the stage where we’ve had to”.

Walking Back to Happiness is Greytown’s story, about growing up in Greytown as a child in the 1950s, he said.

“It’s a far cry from what it is now. It was a fun place to be, but it was a no-frills town; quite different from the shopping mecca that it is today.”

The idea of writing a book had been in the back of Farmer’s mind for a long time, but he didn’t know what it was going to be about.

“Retired journalists always think about writing books,” Farmer said.

He was at a school reunion when the idea for the book came to him

“We were talking at a school reunion about things that happened, and a woman called Elizabeth Darke said to me, ‘You were a proper little brat’.

“I said, ‘No, I wasn’t,’ and she said ‘Oh yes you were’.”

After that conversation, Farmer got talking to another “chap” who told him that they were “getting older; if somebody doesn’t write about the children of the 50s and 60s now, there will be no one left to write about us.”

From that point onward, Farmer thought, “that’s right, I’m going to have to write something”.

For him, the most challenging part of writing the book was slowing down his busy life – and then the covid-19 lockdown hit home.

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t go anywhere. I sat down and wrote two-thirds of the book in a fortnight.”

The book was published through the Wairarapa Times-Age. Each copy costs $35.



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