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13 Years in America

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  118 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
13 Years in America is a story of hope, sacrifice, and the modern search for happiness that is at once a moving personal journey and a sharp, hard look at the American Dream.

After moving to the United States from Canada, a free-spirited young woman rejects the status quo and embarks on a journey to discover what it means to be truly happy and fulfilled in the Land of Oppo
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 4th 2012 by Createspace (first published March 18th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,014)
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Oct 06, 2012 Fiona rated it it was amazing
Love it. Melanie Steele honours us with a glimpse into 13 years of her life, while simultaneously providing insight, commentary and food for thought on the social, political, and cultural changes that took place in the United States (and beyond) over those years. Her memoir is brutally honest and heart-wrenching, while her social commentary is super-charged. Underlying the personal narrative is an unwavering theme of hope, which is really inspiring. As a reader, I found myself rooting for her an ...more
Aug 18, 2012 Erica rated it it was amazing
I appreciated the glimpse that Melanie gave of us of her life and challenges, and I related to many of them. The book opens with the author as a young woman, full of life and optimism. The many hardships and disappointments she faces damage her optimism but not her love of life. There were many passages that I highlighted for future reference. This is a book that I’ll be thinking about for a while.

Erin Evenchick
Nov 24, 2012 Erin Evenchick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Received as a Goodreads Giveaway.

I read this book in pretty much one sitting. Beautifully written memoir of one woman's experiences emmigrating to the US after a whirlwind romance, and trying to find her bliss in the context of the American Dream.

Five stars for sure.
May 29, 2013 Joanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
a heartwarming story of melanies journey following her heart to find happiness.
I won this in a Good Reads giveaway

Steve Riddle
Aug 02, 2012 Steve Riddle rated it it was amazing
This is a great book...straightforward and honest with a powerful message
Feb 12, 2015 Needban rated it it was amazing
Just re-read this book and found it good on many levels. The biggest plus is the unrelenting pursuit of happiness in the face of adversity. Not only does Melanie insist on pursuing her dreams, but she does so despite several offers to take the easy road. She turns them down because they don't offer what feels right to her, or what will inspire her. She takes the road less traveled. She doesn't do it in dramatic ways, but rather through a simple "no" to what insults her soul.

Since first reading
Megan Oswald
Feb 07, 2013 Megan Oswald rated it it was amazing
Shelves: america

One of the most poignant, beautiful stories I’ve read. Steele has opened herself up and shared her experiences of her quest to find happiness – a worthwhile endeavor indeed! (And one that we should all consider and appreciate.)

I felt like I knew Melanie and Scott and their beautiful daughter, and I kept rooting for them and hoping they would find what they were looking for. I cried through the whole last couple chapters not only because I didn’t want the story to end but because I was so enthral
Oct 09, 2012 Monique marked it as to-read
Shelves: c-america
Just entered to win this book! I so wanna read this book, travelling through America has always been a never-to-execute-due-to-finance dream to me. Maybe this book can live up to my dream a little bit!!!! If I do not win this, I will certainly buy it!! So grateful to goodreads, never would have known about this book if it wasn't for goodreads!!!

Oh no, bad luck...did not win this book. Winners are really picked random, two winners hadn't even added it to their "to-read" shelf!!! Ah well....Just b
Sep 07, 2015 Lara rated it liked it
I read this book during a three hour bus journey on my way back from college for the first time. I have just moved to a new country, started a new period of my life away from everything and everyone I know. So this book spoke to me. Yes, it was slow at times, the characters often seemed naive and/or foolish to me, but I also understood them. Melanie and Scott and the kind of people I want to but will never be; just like most of us.

But what really struck me is how real they were, even though the
Mar 26, 2013 Lucy33 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
When Melanie first arrives in America, she doesn’t know what to expect. It’s a lot like her home country of Canada. But as she lives her daily life she struggles with a constant, almost sinister, pressure to conform and give up her idealistic notion of happiness. When she refuses to conform, she faces challenges and hardships that are shocking and infuriating. Great for anyone who’s interested in challenging the status quo and the experiences of those who have.
Feb 10, 2015 Rachel rated it did not like it
Not an inspiring read at all. It didn't meet the brief about finding yourself, least of all in an adventurous romp around different US States. Twelve years was spent in one State and one year in a city of a second State. There was an extremely brief road trip from State One to State Two which allowed the synopsis claim of "half a dozen" States to be technically true.

The writer doesn't invite empathy, I found her selfish and whiney and her reasoning for most decisions was shaky at best tending mo
Aug 23, 2013 Cat rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable read. The characters are interesting, even if they are incredibly financially foolish.
Taylor Ward
Feb 03, 2016 Taylor Ward rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because I didn't feel like any words were wasted. It was incredibly relatable and heartbreaking at times. The characters were constantly evolving and for the most part I enjoyed their dynamics. Heavy themes are addressed throughout: Materialism vs. Minimalism, the systematic stifling of creativity, especially in college institutions, the hypocrisy of working for an idealist employer while being paid slave wages. Anyone who's worked hard for a better life in America onl ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Shelley rated it liked it
enjoyed the read, but was terribly disappointed in the ending.
Nov 08, 2012 Roberta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
made me think, wonder, laugh, cry, care.
Apr 11, 2013 Rj rated it it was amazing
I read this book twice. The first time through, I started reading about a young woman making her way in a new country, in a new relationship, going through changes up against challenges. Then I found myself getting drawn in, as though her challenges were mine. When I got to the end, I was compelled to read it again, not only to relive it but also to better appreciate the experience. It’s written in present tense and now I understand why: the reader is part of the experience. It starts out a bit ...more
Jan 25, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Corrine Darsheen
Feb 12, 2015 Corrine Darsheen rated it it was amazing
Come along with Melanie as she rejects the status quo and follows her bliss, refusing to give in or compromise. I see far to many people willing to sacrifice their own happiness in order to simply "get by." Why? This book is testament to the value of persevering and holding on to what matters. I have referred to this book several times in discussions and use it as an example of how we can all live according to our truth. Strong 5 stars.
Kay Castaneda
Jan 19, 2016 Kay Castaneda rated it it was amazing
Melanie Steele's autobiography tells the story of her life from her carefree hippie days to adult. She describes falling in love with Roger, who became her husband, and the birth of their daughter Morgen. Steele writes about their various jobs such as motel manager, waitress, college professor until her current and favorite career, writing.
Walt Renfrew
May 08, 2015 Walt Renfrew rated it it was amazing
A smooth and easy read, 13 Years is an honest account of a young couple/family struggling to live a free and honest life. There's nothing shocking, nothing mind-blowing.... but there's plenty of adventure, hard-knocks, and brutal honesty. There's passion and insight. It's worth the read.
Apr 13, 2014 Penroj rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable look at American life though a Canadians eyes, at least the first 13 years of it.

I liked the conversational narrative way the events unfolded and by the end you really got to understand her motivation, though at first you get the impression like most of us really, she did not fully understand what she wanted.

The mistakes she made were understandable, but a little naïve in that she made similar mistakes more than once, and you would have thought she would have learned from t
Dorothee Lang
Aug 31, 2012 Dorothee Lang rated it really liked it
Steele wrote this book based on the yearly diaries she kept during those 13 years, and put together, the narrative tells the moving story of someone who sets out in the hope and believe that if you follow your heart, you will find happiness at some point.

Only that each year comes with the same realization: even if you only look for happiness on a smaller scale, it might be hard to find, and won't come easy. - That's one of the reasons this book is important: it tells another story, a story that
Mar 22, 2014 Courtney rated it really liked it
13 Years in America is a very real memoir about chasing happiness and stability in life. I also got out of it how love can conquer hardships.

Read the rest of my review here!
Shannon Bradley
Mar 19, 2014 Shannon Bradley rated it really liked it
A great but sometimes slow read. All about a small family trying to find and live their American dream.
Mar 20, 2013 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Drawn in by the writing style and interested in main character from Canada who moved to the U.S. When I was about 50 pages in, I wanted to not like this book because it called into question my beliefs, everything I had grown up with and known as true my whole life. I wanted to say it was wrong to question and doubt. But try as I may, I couldn't put it down and I couldn't dismiss it. It questioned what needs to be questioned, and re-imagined what needs to an eloquent, gentle way witho ...more
TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey
I'd wrote one review already and it must have been deleted or I didn't save it or something. Anyhow, I really liked this book. I'd gotten it as a freebie on my Nook and had it for a while but finally just read it. It sucked me right in. I was shocked with all the moving around that happened especially after she had a child. BUT overall this book was really good!
Jackie Kehl
Feb 04, 2013 Jackie Kehl rated it it was ok
An account of the author's first years in America that reads like an informal memoir/journal. For the first third or so, I kept wondering why I was continuing to read the book. Then the account got more interesting as she discusses her and her husband's efforts to live by their principles and create a sustainable life. Not much substance, though.
Mar 01, 2013 Flinn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
What I expected:
A light, fluffy feel-good about a free-spirit finding her bliss.

What I got: a gritty portrait of the struggles faced by the modern common-man. Take off the rose-colored glasses, peel back the curtain. This is life. Told without self-pity, written with grace.
Rachel Brown
Oct 31, 2015 Rachel Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Great book. I found it to be very thought provoking and an interesting look at modern life and what we value
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