This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone

Melissa Coleman, Author
Melissa Coleman, Harper, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-195832-8
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
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. Inspired by the back-to-the-land lifestyle of Scott and Helen Nearing, Coleman's parents, Sue and Eliot, decided to create their own idyllic reality on 60 acres of land in Maine that was sold to them by the Nearing family for a token sum. While Coleman emphasizes the beauty of growing up in a family culture that valued the bounty of nature and freedom of expression, she does not hesitate to also expose farming's detrimental effect on family lifeā€”her own well-being as well as the accidental death of her younger sister. (Mar.)
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