Jump to content
Big Library Read Big Library Read
Adam Sockel

What were your overall thoughts on the book (SPOILERS)

Recommended Posts

Gabbie    0

It was fantastic. I fell in love with David and  Jennifer right away. The goats were so adorable. The author made me feel like I was in the barn. I couldn’t wait to read what the babies would be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TashaB    0

I did the audiobook version and it was great! I really enjoyed this book. There were many times where it pulled you in (especially being from Tennessee) and made your imagination go haywire. I love when a writer has that power. I love adventurous and emotional reads and this was one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NYCreader    3

Couldn't even get to the goats.

This book seems like such a curious selection for a big library read. I found the writing style bland and the main character largely unsympathetic. The whining, the victim mentality, and the self-centered rambling were just too much. She barely even speaks about her children. Maybe the book gets better, but there are too many great books out there to waste limited reading time on something as mediocre as this.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michele    9

This was a courageous act. Would I be able to put my life story out there for public consumption? I don't think so. For me, it is important to separate the book  from the writer. She never said that her thoughts, or feelings or opinions or decisions were right or wrong. She just shared her lived experience with us. I am sure that as she wrote the book, she was reflecting upon her decisions and choices. Hind sight is 20/20. She should've, could've would've. Until I walk a mile in her shoes, I can't begin to understand her life. 

I thought the book was well written and that made for an easy read. The book did draw me in as I wanted to know more. I believe her reflections on her grandmother's and great grandmother's lives gave her encourage and hope. It appeared to me that the first part of her life was focused on the external: house, cars, money, children, education, status, achievements...! The remainder was the journey within. Having been forced to give up "everything that mattered" she discovered, in simplicity, what is really most important in life. I admire and respect her journey and the humility with which she shares her life. I am not sure I could do the same. There are life lessons in her writing for us all. 

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Largo Sue    2

I enjoyed the book.  I'm a country girl and liked the details of caring for animals.  I also look forward to trying some of the recipes.  My only negative comment is about debt and saving.  How far do you go into debt before you are willing to make changes?  Try working full time, send your kids to public school, and clip coupons.  Don't buy a house you can't afford.  Live on a budget like the rest of us.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xiophile    5

I did not like the main character, ie the author. She is selfish and mean. Throughout she blames others, primarily her husband, for all the problems, never taking responsibility for anything. I have read many of the comments from other readers which mention personal growth etc. I found no evidence of that in the book. At best she becomes proud of herself for bravely facing her difficulties and making the best of things. Never apologising to her husband for treating him so badly and blaming him for everything.  She really didn't deserve him.  Way too much whining. Sadly she doesn't even know her country singers as she attributes one of Conway Twitty's greatest hits, Love To Lay You Down, to Waylon Jennings, an unforgivable mistake. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JanetB    4

Reading this book is like watching a train wreck with the drivers oblivious to the cause.

Both Jennifer and David need a reality check. Neither seems to own their problems. They continue to focus on their wants (goats? really?) and not on their obligations. As a US taxpayer, I resent that.

I hope enough books are sold for them to pay their tax bills.

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OldBayBabe    23
On 4/7/2018 at 0:39 AM, OldBayBabe said:

I really wanted to like the book more than I did. Her endless making herself out to be a victim was so tiresome. She seems to still be perplexed why the people she defaulted on (hundreds of thousands of dollars!) and whose house they did not maintain or repair would not want to talk to her ever again or why their things were moved into the garage and the locks were changed once the foreclosure started. Who wouldn't do that, the author was so out of touch with reality and so stubborn not to fix leaks, the stove, the insulation when they lived there, for all their "friends" they ripped off knew, she'd steal the fixtures or trash the place. 

They also made very few steps to cut back on expenses, sending their kids to private school after they learned of the IRS issue, meals out, drinking, travel etc. She refused to even look into teaching HS, she has a degree and most places they can teach HS while you get a teaching certificate or at least sub. She didn't think they'd pass the background check but she didn't even try. Instead, she kept being an adjunct making well under 10,000 a year. She refused to apply for a job at a department store because she wore casual "arty" clothes. I can't imagine writing a memoir and telling people about all of this. I'd be too ashamed. I think she still thinks she behaved properly and was a victim in all this and that's why she feels like people will read this and sympathize with her. 

 

She needs therapy and credit counseling ASAP. 

 

On 4/7/2018 at 0:43 PM, Jules said:

And the"friends" were right - they stole the bar stools.  I'm glad I don't have any of those kind of friends.

Yes! That's right. And left everything in worse shape than it was then they moved it. I feel bad for them. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed the book and after getting past the idea that a woman in today's world, an educated woman, had NO IDEA what her husband was doing with their money (or should I say WASN'T doing), the book was fun to listen to.  It sure took her a long time, though, to decide she might be able to write a book to make some money or get a full-time job to make some money.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am really not sure. I like the way it was written. But at the same time it was difficult to finish it. I can understand a couple that looses their house because of job related reasons, etc. But I will not be able to stay with a husband that lie to me and cost all of this to happen. He pretended to be filling the taxes and yet he never did. I can't forgive that. Loosing my home for something like that is unacceptable. I would have pack my things and go somewhere else, especially with grown kids. Then the amount of money spent on renovating a rental, building things, buying animals, driving long distances. I don't know... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mary Ann S    0

I almost stopped reading this book in the beginning, but appreciated it more after reading it entirely.  It's a story about her transformation.  She starts off evading any acceptance responsibility,  rationalizing why she didn't see it coming, why it's all David's fault; all her thoughts are about longing for what's gone.  The crisis is when she essentially runs away to the teaching job in Macomb.  Will she stay there and reconstruct a life similiar to what she lost?  Or will she return to her family and face a completely uncertain future? The turning point is her decision to return.  It felt like from that point on, the story was about her gradual acceptance of life on life's term, in this case letting go of blaming David or clinging to her old life.  At the end, she feels triumph in making soap and feels connected to the past generations of women in her family.  Emotionally, she is finally home.  The story is a hero story mixed with some Kubler-Ross grieving stages.

It's not perfect. I would have liked her to actually track down her friend and apologize in real life, rather than copping out by settling for a dream scenario.  It signals to me that her journey of maturing is ongoing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dae    1

It was an interesting memoir to read. It's more enjoyable to read without being judgemental about their life, lifestyle and the choices they made. There are many 'ifs' and 'buts' in everyone's life, where sometimes we wish we could have done things differently to avoid the mess we end up with. Well written!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Krissstin    1

Well, I didn't like the first 2 chapters. Chapter 3 ex husband chapter, whoa! I know it's off putting to see someone be so blind to the situation but that is EXACTLY how it is. So that writing was very raw honest and real for me.

i wanted to hear more about her and David's relationship near the end. It seemed they were getting along and in love maybe but just a regular conversation.

I appreciate that even though they were broke they still gave good lives to their animals. Maybe they shouldn't have bought more since they owed so much. The sick goat and dog really got me. 

There were a LOT of topics here: cabin, goats, other animals, Macomb trip, ex, being broke, grandparents, food... I would have liked a more focused book on just the goats, or just the awful relationship. 

 

Not as as bad as I initially thought during the first 2 chapters:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JezzieZ    2

Yes, the author was honest about the VERY poor choices she made, but I'm not sure she learned anything from the whole mess.

She seems proud of "surviving" in her cabin while talking about eating out fairly often. If one has that much responsibility (not just debt - responsibility) to pay taxes, then get a job delivering pizza or working at a grocery store instead of expecting to survive as an adjunct (been there, done it!). 

And there's WAY too much information about goat breeding. The goats seemed like very expensive pets; the money could have been spent differently.

Sorry I read this one!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way they treated their "friends" was terrible. I would be cowering in shame not writing a book! They broke into the house and even stole the barstools! I honestly got the feeling she thinks she is the victim here! She continued to send her son to private school, while not paying her mortgage. So very wrong!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely adored this book.  What an amazing adventure Jennifer and David have been on!  I could not put the book down which is in itself a testimony to her great writing, as the theme did not really catch my attention at first.  Jennifer speaks from the heart and her earthiness and connection to her Appalachian roots and ancestors are so admirable and lovable. I love the fact that once she got over the grieving process of her past life she embraces the farming and animal life with every piece of her being.  She is so honest about the difficulties in getting through this and that, also, is very endearing.

I am looking forward to passing on my recommendations of this story.  It really is lovely and enjoyable to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kallie    0

Life is messy and Jennifer did a good job capturing her journey through her mess. She is optimistic about life,so it's understandable that she stays in an abusive relationship too long. Not being aware of their family situation -- why would she not trust her accountant husband? Jennifer effectively takes us through her stages of dealing with her losses. Her honesty is admirable as she describes her path toward personal understanding. I'm just glad I was able to vicariously experience her self discovery rather then go through it myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Greytmom    0

I liked this book. I have never read a book like it.  I felt her mind going in different directions, where one thought or experience would lead to a different time in her life. The descriptions of the settings were very vivid. I could picture everything how it would look and sound. I couldn’t put it down.  5 stars in my book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Deb Bowers    1

I really enjoyed it. What bravery to own up to her faults and lack of contribution to understanding the hard realities.  Looking forward to more from this author.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mabel    0
On 4/4/2018 at 1:24 AM, Michele said:

The book was very well written, in my opinion, descriptive, decisive and warm. I was invited repeatedly to read one more chapter. I come from a place where similar values to the author are shared, where there is rich family history of hard work and appreciation of the simple things in life. I identified with her connection to her grandmother and family in general. I admire her honesty in the telling of the story, sharing her struggles, challenges, her mountaintop moments and achievements. The one takeaway that is most important to me is that it took the foreclosure and the IRS to bring these two people to a place within themselves where they discovered that the most important things in life are not things and that living according to what you need and not what you want, makes for a good life for everyone. 

I agree. I like the pace of the book and thought it was well written. I like her introspection and could see how families get into financial ruin. I felt compassion and irritation for her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Much of this book focused on the author's relationship with her grandmother and other family relatives. When she spoke of the sadness and regret and guilt she felt after telling stories of her grandmother, I wanted to speak out and tell her how lucky she is to have known her grandmother and to have memories of her. As the daughter of my father's second wife,  I was never invited to know my grandmother, and I found myself mentally telling the author to please cherish every single memory she had with hers, even the bad and sad and guilt-ridden ones. 

I was also a little surprised to listen to her stories of her ancestors and how closely she connected to her roots only to see her so distrusting of other people in her area of the world, i.e, all the people whom she bought her animals from. Perhaps her first marriage and being a teacher of 18-year-olds can taint a persons view of the world, but I found it a bit disheartening to think that the author, if she came to my ranch to buy an animal from me, would judge me quite harshly because of how I look or what my surroundings look like.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×