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The Exact Place: a memoir

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A three-room house in northern Minnesota with no running water can seem crowded with a mother, stepfather, five siblings, and a dog. It was swampland barely claimed from wilderness, where temperatures of 40 below could freeze a chicken house full of hens. It was the place Margie accidentally killed her favorite dog, was chased by a timber wolf, learned to love work and hum ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published September 29th 2012 by Kalos Press
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Jessica Snell
Oct 15, 2012 Jessica Snell rated it it was amazing
If you've ever heard the late Rich Mullins' excellent song "First Family", you'll have an idea of the tone of Margie' Haack's memoir, "The Exact Place". Her clear-eyed prose is kin to Mullins' simple and profound lyricism.

Haack grew up on the swampy, lakeside land just on the American side of Minnesota's northern border, oldest in a large farming family.

To be honest, I usually avoid books about country life, because I find they tend to be either much too depressing or, the exact opposite, muc
Oct 15, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
A good memoir allows readers a glimpse into another person’s experience and leaves them better for it. The Exact Place recalls Margie Haack’s childhood in the harsh and wild landscape of rural Northern Minnesota. Margie and her husband Denis have a fantastic ministry called Ransom Fellowship. I have enjoyed their writing on faith and culture for many years, so I had no doubt that I’d enjoy this book, just as I’ve enjoyed Margie’s writing over the years on her blog and in Notes from Toad Hall.

Andd Becker
Oct 16, 2012 Andd Becker rated it it was amazing
Every page in this book is interesting. Effortlessly, it seems, the memoirist pulls the reader into the story.
The style is captivating. Down-to-earth remembrances ensnare the reader.
Does the author know how good her writing is?
I received this book free through the goodreads FIRST READS program.
J.E. Jr.
Sep 13, 2012 J.E. Jr. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kalos-press, memoir
[Full disclosure: I edited this book, and I am the Publisher at Kalos Press, the publishing house that produced it.]

I first learned of Margie’s book when I read an article in which a friend of hers knew that Margie had been searching — in vain — for a publisher for her memoir. I’ve known Margie (and her husband Denis) for years, and have always enjoyed their writing through Ransom Fellowship, Critique magazine and Margie’s Notes from Toad Hall newsletter. Surely, I thought, any manuscript of Mar
Spencer Cummins
Oct 23, 2012 Spencer Cummins rated it it was amazing
The Exact Place: A Memoir by Margie L. Haack
Deep in the woods of northwestern Minnesota where the temperatures drop easily below freezing and the neighbors drop in at any time, Margie L. Haack tells the story of her life growing up with five siblings, a mother and a stepfather. The portrait she weaves is both intimately personal and public, brimming with details of her search for her stepfather’s love and the daily grind of life on a farm. Margie’s writing shines forth with an amazing clarity on
Nov 01, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing
This is simply a delight to read. To be honest I have known Margie and her husband Denis for many years and this is the first memoir I have read by someone I know. Margie's writing is so good that you can almost taste the blueberries, feel the cold Minnesota winters and smell the multitude of smells associated with living on a farm. I would recommend this to everyone I know.
Jenni Simmons
Jan 07, 2013 Jenni Simmons rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, to-review
My review is coming soon. In the meantime, read this:

"Let Them Kiss the Dog: An Interview with Margie Haack" by Katy Bowser on the Art House America Blog.
Jan 29, 2014 Joanne rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Joanne by: Tim
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
I really liked this memoir of Margie growing up in rural northern Minnesota. She is a lovely writer, and reflects back upon incidents in her childhood to point out where she experienced spiritual awakenings, such as of conscience, when she accidentally causes her dog's death. She writes poignantly about unsuccessfully seeking her step-father's love, which she sees as impetus for her own seeking of God later. It's hard to write about faith without sounding cloying, and she succeeds.

It reminded
May 24, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tim by: Hearts & Minds Bookstore
An engaging memoir of growing up in the 50s in northern MN (almost Canada), on swampy farmland, in a three-room shotgun shack with six kids. Margie is the eldest, born after her mother was widowed at seventeen. Her stepfather takes care of her, but never loves her like the five that are his own. This might sound bleak, but the stories in the book are told with love of detail and place that makes her life of poverty (school kids let her know she was poor) one of adventure and even joy. The detail ...more
Tamara Hill Murphy
What are the chances I read two books from Kalos Press -- a press I've never noticed before -- in the same month? And in that same month, discover a blogging, Anglican, Binghamton acquaintance is writing a book for the same press? Just interesting, don't you think?

I've had Margie Haack's memoir on my to-read list since it was first published. I kept thinking it would be at my library and it never was. Last week I received a serendipitous Amazon gift card and spent it immediately on this book. (T
Jan 16, 2015 Hope rated it it was ok
Shelves: christianity
First of all, this book is about a young girl's hunger for a father's love. Every page is loaded with the heaviness of her stepfather's rejection, making it a ponderous read. Second, the book is about the glory of everyday things. "I loved the daily ritual of feeding a crowd of chickens who waited eagerly for you to dump their oats and mash into the feeders, of gathering eggs so fresh they were still warm in your cupped hand, of throwing slabs of hay over the fence to the horses who nickered to ...more
Mar 03, 2013 Andy rated it really liked it
Margie Haack and I grew up in the same state at the same time. After that, almost everything is different. She grew up in northern Minnesota. I grew up in southern Minnesota. Her home was rural. Mine suburban. She had a fundamentalist upbringing. Mine was Catholic. Her family had very limited financial resources. Mine was well-to-do. She was the oldest child. I was the youngest. Her family was blended. Mine was intact.

As a result of all this, as you might expect, while my growing up years are p
May 29, 2013 ladydusk rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Own on Kindle.

Magie Haack had quite the childhood. In this book, she reviews her life and relates God's hand in it. She says that her childhood was in the 'exact place' she was to be -- which, very often would be the opposite of her personal choice.

In her somewhat primitive, cramped home (at least in 20th C America), her step-father always disapproved and seemed to disdain her. She spent her childhood working for the approval of one who would never approve. In one of the most poignant chapters o
Mar 24, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
The more memoirs I read, the more I'm convinced that the best ones don't necessarily recount extraordinary stories about a person's life, but instead have authors who've developed unique insight into their past experiences, and weaved that insight into their stories. I can't relate to much in Margie Haack's childhood (I didn't grow up poor, or on a farm, for starters) and I'll admit that I did hit a "dry spell" in the middle of the book where I had to skim some sections about her relationships w ...more
B.j. Larson
Jul 05, 2015 B.j. Larson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I so enjoy memoirs and this one was a delightful read. Her experiences growing up were unlike any of mine but her descriptions intrigued me and transported me to another time and place. Since my dad also grew up farming, I think it gave me a deeper appreciation for him. Some of her antics made me laugh out loud and her personal perspectives are just what I hope to hear from an elder when I go to sit down with them and listen to their story. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a m ...more
Luke Brown
Jan 05, 2013 Luke Brown rated it it was amazing
A charming, touching memoir, and a reminder that we can find beauty and love in any environment; that we should appreciate and enjoy and find the beauty in the place and situation where are are located. At first, I wondered where these stories were headed. They were enjoyable, but what did they mean? She tied them up together in a charming faith journey. I found myself caring about these people and would like to know more about their life.
Heather Lacke
Sep 30, 2014 Heather Lacke rated it really liked it
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

I was happily surprised by this book. I love memoirs and this one was filled with heart and humor. It seemed to have the perfect balance between childhood naïveté and personal introspection. Very well written and beautifully set in a true wilderness.
Mar 20, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This book was so smartly written, with so much detail, that I was interested from the first page to the last. I really like memoirs that are well-written and accessible, and this one was no exception. Well done, Margie Haack! I'm looking forward to your next book now.
Feb 15, 2013 Rides2far rated it really liked it
Loved it. Well written. Makes me wish I could remember the exact stuff we did as kids because her memories have that ring of truth that brings back memories of things my friends and I did...only it wasn't 20 below at my house!
May 18, 2014 Hwydiva rated it really liked it
This girl has spunk. I found myself wishing that I spent my childhood as wild and carefree as she did. The openness about spirituality and the long lasting desires for a father's love gives this book true depth.
Hannah Martell
Apr 04, 2013 Hannah Martell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
I loved this book. Some of her stories are funny, some are heart-breaking and all are written in a way that draws you right into her surroundings. A beautiful memoir. I highly recommend it!
Jul 11, 2014 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Pure delight. Margie's writing is earthy, tender, hilarious sometimes, and real always.
Feb 19, 2013 Reagan rated it really liked it
Loved this, more than wool socks or a pink sunrise.
Anita Gorder
Jan 05, 2013 Anita Gorder rated it it was amazing
Colleen rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2016
Tangi rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2016
M. Winslow
M. Winslow marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2016
Sharon added it
Jan 21, 2016
Elizabeth Groh
Elizabeth Groh rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2016
Robert Owoicho
Robert Owoicho marked it as to-read
Jan 08, 2016
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Margie Haack grew up in Minnesota, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. While she was a pre-med student at the University of Minnesota, she met her husband, Denis, who changed the course of her life. Their years together have seen many turns, including living in a commune in New Mexico. Their move to Rochester, Minnesota included a search for meaningful Christian community, and it was there t ...more
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