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Adam Sockel

What were your overall thoughts on the book (SPOILERS)

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LynnW    0

I’m afraid to say that this book was not for me. I listened to it on audio and it seemed never ending. Lots of rambling and I lost interest on numerous occasions. That said, I still got to the end but felt that it didn’t come to any conclusion. Did they make a really good go of it? Have they stayed together and stayed in the cabin or shack! I usually like memoirs, especially ones when people up sticks and completely change their lives but I’m afraid this ones a no from me x

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This is the first Big Read book that I've participated in reading.  The ONLY reason I wanted to read it was because of the title.  I've been raising goats for over 20 years and have never had much money, so I thought I might be able to relate to the story.  But NO! I did not relate to this story at all except to get angry at how the author and her husband continued to be so financially irresponsible - spending money they really couldn't afford to spend, to buy animals they didn't need.  I forced myself to read the entire book in hopes that at some point they would redeem themselves and show that they had learned the lesson of living within their means.  But instead of financial responsibility, she ends the story by telling us how she took out student loans to get a masters degree in fine arts- another completely impractical choice.  While she talks about how she respects the hard work her forebears did just to survive, she never really seems to learn the lesson there - that she and her husband need to suck it up and start living within their means.

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Lrlan    1
Posted (edited)

I read this just because I'd never heard of Big Library Read before, and it popped up with this book on my Overdrive app. I thought, "Sure, why not?", and I loved the title, so I borrowed the book.

I wish I'd known it was a memoir going in; that may (or may not) have helped. Basically, I found nothing enjoyable about this book. It was a long string of bad-mad-sad; I was rooting for her to  drive off into the night if it would just end the misery.

I ended my misery by putting the book down.

Edited by Lrlan

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Lrlan    1
3 hours ago, Pam the Goatherd said:

  I forced myself to read the entire book in hopes that at some point they would redeem themselves and show that they had learned the lesson of living within their means.  But instead of financial responsibility, she ends the story by telling us how she took out student loans to get a masters degree in fine arts- another completely impractical choice.  

You're a better woman than I am, Pam! I couldn't get through it; thanks for confirming my fears about the non-resolution.

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jillow    1

A lot of readers have said this as well, but I was a little annoyed with the author the whole time about spending hundreds of dollars on goats (and other farming needs) when they're so in debt. It just didn't make sense to me. I'm overly frugal, but this seemed excessive. Alcohol is not cheap... they could stop drinking that. And the fact that their days became filled or consumed with farm life, that doesn't seem like a good approach to earning money to pay the bills.

That said, it was written well and I learned a whole lot more about goat mating behavior than I ever knew I could know. It basically confirmed my underlying suspicion that I don't ever want to own goats. 

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Melj    1
On 4/8/2018 at 7:12 PM, Elizabeth Clark said:

The book was boring to me. The amount of money they must have had to owe $100,000 on is staggering. As a family of three disabled people living on less than $23,000 a year the authors whining, to me, is like a slap in the face. And no I have no debts. I pay my bills. I have kept chickens and goats and sheep for their fleece, so I really do not buy into some of her experiences, plus she seemed to leave the renovations to her poor husband. As someone else said a three storey cabin is really a house. Cabin to me is one room. Hardship to the author would not be hardship to me. Someone mentioned the hardships of adjunct college staff.. Try working minimum wage at three different supermarts as they only employ part time, and no sick pay or insurance.  The problem is the author is possibly genuine in her remarks and I can see better off people responding to her, but to normal people or genuinely poor people like me, may be insulted. I want to see a picture of this cabin. Any chance of that? She was in PETA and had the dogs, so a little check for those attributes. Egg and I was also exaggerated. Would have liked something more interesting for the BIG READ

I found a picture on Facebook 

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Ned    0

I thought the book was very well written and enjoyed reading about all their challenges.  Since this is obviously someone’s real life, I, too, am astounded by the total lack of financial responsibility.  I very much doubt I would have stayed in that marriage!  Also, although I have spent many summers camping in the woods, I can’t imagine living that way for years, no matter how bucolic the setting!

 

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weezie    0

I had a difficult time relating to the author.  She and her husband made horrible, uninformed, selfish choices.  They were both educated, they weren't not kids anymore, yet they made impulsive, not well considered decisions...even after the move to the cabin in the country.  While I enjoyed the parts of the book where she described the love she and her husband had for all kinds of animals, even their decisions to acquire these animals seemed foolhardy to me given their dire financial circumstances.  As indicated in the book,  many of those animals at one point or another needed the care of a veterinarian, costing money that they couldn't spare.  Like many others have commented, I wondered about their drinking craft beers, wines, and specialty drinks and the author's need to fill a void in her life by pursuing the MFA and taking out a loan for the tuition... (really?).  Due to the poor example of how to lead a financially sound life, I am sad it was selected as a Big Library Read by the readers.  It just doesn't seem that there was any understanding or learning that took place regarding how to make better choices.  

I listened to the interview with the author posted on the OverDrive site and it was interesting to hear her comments.  

 

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I loved the book and did not want it to end.  I found the author and husband to be interesting and enjoyed how they patched their marriage together. I am too old to start raising chickens or goats but made the taco soup and loved it. Tuesday I will try try ricotta cheese. 

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hmy    0

Can't say I enjoyed it much, probably because I found the author so unlikeable. Their descent into financial difficulties was down-right irresponsible and the failure to deal with it (ie pay the debts) was rather despicable. Her complaints about her fall from gracious living just grated when her situation was still so much better than many peoples. Her (and her husband's) initial attempts to play at farmers were lamentable, so gushing and incompetent, not to mention very extravagant. Overall I felt that they were a couple of people who hadn't grown up and any complaints were of their own making. I wasn't very interested in their story and only finished because it was the big library read.

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Booklover    3

Loved it.  I posted more thoughts in another thread, but basically - I found many themes repeating throughout the book: about making choices (both good and bad) and learning to accept consequences; about the connections we make and which ones are important in the end; about failures and successes and especially about our perceptions of failure and success...

Favorite line in the book:  "She knew you could make mistakes and get past them and that you could forgive the people you loved for doing the same."  (last page, pretty well sums things up for me).

Second favorite line:  "You drive; I'll ride in the back with the possum"

Thank you for a great read!!

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CCamp    1

Overall I enjoyed the book because I learned about my own judgments, I got quite annoyed with the author and realized I was being too harsh.  But I disagree with those saying this could happen to anyone at anytime.  While we can't control layoffs, deaths in the family, or even our spouse's irresponsible behaviors and choices, we can live within our means.  We can push ourselves to learn and be more financially responsible.  I understand her not being that in the beginning, but I was disappointed she didn't seem to be any more financially responsible years later.  Spending money on goats when you aren't sure you have enough money for food and are massively in debt seems irresponsible to me.

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Patty D    3

I loved the book. I thought the author was ver honest and I could relate to her so much!! And I thought she was a great writer!!! Hats off to you Jennifer for staying with your love of writing!! 

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Cjkaruna    2

I was drawn in by the title and then seriously irritated by the lack of responsibility of the protagonists. I kept reading through the choppy writing, hoping for insight, growth, some kind of awakening but was disappointed. So they lost everything which was sad but their own fault, and then they went to live in a shack? She left her husband with one of the dogs and no regrets but then she went back? I am sorry they have had a rough time but so have many others and I ended up feeling bored by the writing and annoyed by the continued lack of responsible choices.

and the ending - it just stopped. I usually like books with recipes but this one was boring and why were they always drinking fancy beers when they had no money?

just because she is a writing teacher does not mean that she didn’t need a really good editor. It might have helped. 

Midway into the book I thought of getting it for my sister because she has goats. But she is also a journalist, writer, English major and the book was so poorly written I won’t buy it for her. 

The only saving grace was that it was a library book and therefore, was free. 

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