This Life Is in your Hands

This Life Is in your Hands

One Dream, Sixty Acres, and A Family Undone

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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With urban farming and backyard chicken flocks becoming increasingly popular, Coleman has written this timely and honest portrait of her own childhood experience in Maine with her two homesteading parents during the turbulent 1970s. A luminous, evocative memoir that explores the hope and struggle behind one family's search for a self-sufficient life.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061958328
0061958328
Characteristics: 325 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm

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Sandra_SMB
Mar 25, 2017

An unusual story about living off the land for the Eliot Coleman family from the perspective of his eldest daughter - no electricity, no water, no in-door plumbing, wood stove, no phone, no TV. American Eliot Coleman has since become a world leader in intensively worked natural gardening techniques.

The story is told through the eyes of his oldest daughter from the time of her birth; I agree with other readers this can seem a bit strange at times as how can a baby or small child remember these events in such detail. But this isn't the point of what the author wants to share.

She and her family lived very non-traditional, extremely hard working focused lives, filled with joy and sadness and tragedy. They did what most of us would be afraid to do.

I think this book offers a very strong positive message about the future of market gardening and about considering an alternative lifestyle - even if most of us don't want to go as extreme as the Coleman family did in their early days.

a
Angeleyes8
Jul 16, 2013

I have read non-fiction before but this is my first memoir. It was very different and it skipped around. It's ok if this is the type of book you are interested in.

deborah2252 Sep 15, 2012

Very sad and difficult to follow. Many characters appear without a clear description. The voice of the child narrating is confusing. Would not read this again, but it was worth one excursion.

a
annekim9
Feb 28, 2012

A beautifully written memoir, very poignant and moving about Melissa's coming of age in the 1970s in Maine while her parents worked the land and tried to be entirely self-sufficient. Their idealistic hopes and dreams turned into struggle then into tragedy and loss. I loved Melissa's clear writing. This was my first ebook reading experience, downloaded from the library's collection.

o
okbookgirl
Aug 22, 2011

Beautifully written memoir about the author's "back to the garden" childhood in the early '70s with her idealistic and hardworking parents. She also gives us a glimpse of the real lives of Scott and Helen Nearing, who were the inspiration for many young people who tried to live their dreams of a simpler and more responsible life.

b
burleighsmith
Jul 01, 2011

In this stunning memoir, the author brings to life the glory of "back to the land" movement of the late '60s & early '70s. At the end you realize she couldn't have not told this story--as its shadow has followed her. Her sentences are full of original descriptions of sensuous memories of life's basic pleasures--the joy of the seasons.

lilylibrarian May 03, 2011

Eliot and Sue Coleman met and married in the late '60's, leaving their upper middle-class lifestyle for organic farming. This was hippie-dippie (without the drugs, for the most part) back-to-nature farming: no chemicals, plumbing, electricity or power implements. Although necessity required a few "cheats," bathing the children more often than biweekly was not among them, nor was taking medication for serious depression or having the recommended surgery for a thyroid condition. Further hippie elements such as Eastern-leaning religious ideas, nudism and free-wheeling sex among the "interns" who stopped by the farm to learn and try out the lifestyle peppered the life of privation and gruelingly hard work that was the Coleman's lifestyle. Daughter Melissa's memoir brings this all into clear focus with her lovely prose and stark honesty. She comes to realize what the reader is thinking all along: "[My father's will] was the strength the pioneers had possessed, but the world had become an easier place since then, and people didn't need to work so hard to survive, so they didn't. It was insanity to do so." Readers will be rapt, waiting to discover the final toll this lifestyle will take on the Coleman family.

t
TheSponge
Apr 27, 2011

I read an excerpt from this book in Oprah magazine and could not wait for it to come out. The author, Melissa Coleman, chronicles her unique childhood and her family’s experiences homesteading on 60 acres in rural Maine in the 1970s. A very interesting biography.

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