From Broke to Badass on A Northern Michigan Farm

Book - 2013
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Funny, self-deprecating, fierce, Link is an irresistible heroine - a true bootstrapper, a person determined to pull herself up in the face of bitter adversity, who appreciates life's beauty and can withstand any blow to pride as long as she can hold on to what she loves most in the world, her farm and her boys. Grit, mettle, and laugh-out-loud humour, infused with a deep appreciation for the natural world.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2013.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780307596918
Characteristics: 257 pages ;,23 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Apr 18, 2019

College-educated Mardi Link had long desired to have her own farm. She thought her husband agreed with this, and after 15 years of marriage (and three sons) they bought a 6-acre small farm in Northern Michigan; but he hated it and moved out. She filed for divorce and kept the farm. She thought she could raise enough food on the farm to take care of herself and her sons; but that is a precarious life. This is primarily the story of her first year attempting to survive on the farm and to find a way to pay the mortgage, home repairs, and other expenses. It meant salvaging firewood all over the county, hoping to win a contest at the bakery so she could afford bread, learning to raise chickens, putting her sons on the reduced-payment lunch program at school, and generally experiencing the kind of poverty that millions around the United States do.

Link is a skilled writer who can make you feel the cold, depression, and frustration of her winter in an unheated Michigan house. But she can also make you see the beauty of the night sky, feel the satisfaction of growing a garden, and understand her love for the three brave sons who helped her get through this.

HCL_staff_reviews Dec 21, 2018

Separated from her soon to be ex-husband, Link is suddenly living the life of a homesteader. Through adversities and tight finances, and with humor and biting wit, Link chronicles her struggle to provide for her 3 sons and hang on to her small farm. The realities of living off the land require determination. This story of what it's like to raise your own food out of necessity serves as a cautionary tale to anyone who has ever romantically dreamed of "living the simple life". I loved how this biography read like a novel. — Jennifer L., Ridgedale Library

Sep 22, 2013

As memoirs go, this was one pretty good. Vividly described a down on their luck family trying to make it on very little money, on their farmette. However, this writer does tend to leave huge details out of anecdotes/stories and to do a fast forward type thing. Made it a bit disjointed at times, but overall I enjoyed it.

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