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13 Years in America

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  28 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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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
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
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.
a heartwarming story of melanies journey following her heart to find happiness.
I won this in a Good Reads giveaway

Steve Riddle
This is a great book...straightforward and honest with a powerful message
Megan Oswald

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
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.
This was an enjoyable read. The characters are interesting, even if they are incredibly financially foolish.
enjoyed the read, but was terribly disappointed in the ending.
made me think, wonder, laugh, cry, care.
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
Trevor Pearson
Received a copy of 13 Years In America By Melanie Steele through the First Reads Giveaway

"The road of twists and turns and no two directions are ever the
same. Yet our lessons come from the journey not the destination."
Don Williams Jr.

The story is simple in its delivery, no smoke and mirrors, honesty even if it does not flatter the inherent or acquired essences of the main characters. The thought of hope is alive and well despite all the challenges encountered directly or indirectly along t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
A great but sometimes slow read. All about a small family trying to find and live their American dream.
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
Kasi Lou
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
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.
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
Great book. I found it to be very thought provoking and an interesting look at modern life and what we value
I don't agree in some points with the author about chasing happiness in nowhere ... :(
Rachel Weis
Loved it. Smooth and clear while also being deep and meaningful. Essential reading!
A Wren
Reads smooth and easy and makes an impact.
Awesome ride!
Annie marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2015
Rachel is currently reading it
Jan 20, 2015
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Melanie is a writer, artist, and free-spirit who lives with her husband and daughter in Minnesota. To contact her, please send an e-mail to: She’d love to hear from you!
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