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From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm

by Mardi Jo Link

Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-307-59691-8
Publisher: Knopf

A woman's journey of survival against many odds.

"Nobody likes a drunk, soon-to-be-divorced, in-debt, swollen-eyed, single mother farmeress," writes Link (Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town, 2009, etc.) in her down-to-earth, often humorous memoir of her effort to hold onto her farm and her three sons. With "Mr. Wonderful" (her ex) living just across the street, the author chronicles a year's worth of struggles as sole breadwinner, mother and farmer. In a partially refurbished old farmhouse, Link battled the monthly cycle of bills and the impossible task of feeding three teenage boys on her vegetable garden, one pig and a free year's supply of day-old bread, courtesy of the giant-zucchini contest she won. With the death of her beloved horse, her dreams of one kind of life were replaced with another vision and a loneliness that she filled with work and the need to survive. Whether gardening, stealing firewood or shoveling snow, the foursome eked their way through the lack of heat, food and money, juxtaposing days of intense labor with fun-filled moments like cooking marshmallows indoors in the fireplace or finding the perfect Christmas tree. As winter turned to spring and the threat of losing everything hung over her head, Link was forced to make difficult decisions. But tenacity and perseverance prove life can be good, filled with simple joys such as watching her sons grow into hardworking individuals, eating food straight from the ground and collecting eggs from her own hens. And if romance appears at odd moments, so much the better.

A moving account of how one woman's willpower saved her home and her family.