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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road
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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  588 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
Margaret Roach worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for 15 years, serving as Editorial Director for the last 6. She first made her name in gardening, writing a classic gardening book among other things. She now has a hugely popular gardening blog, "A Way to Garden." But despite the financial and professional rewards of her job, Margaret felt unfulfilled. So she moved ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 23rd 2011 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2011)
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Sep 07, 2014 Diane rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs, angst, meh, gardening
This memoir had so much promise, but it was disappointing and I struggled to finish it.

Margaret Roach was a big-shot editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and then in 2007, after years of anxiety and stress, she left her job to go live in a country home in upstate New York and have a nice big garden.

The book is titled "And I Shall Have Some Peace There," but I saw little evidence of a peaceful person. Roach's writing is scattered, constantly jumping topics and flitting around, filled with
Danielle McClellan
Aug 13, 2014 Danielle McClellan rated it did not like it
This was a book that I expected to love because the author has a lovely gardening blog that I enjoy and a promising back story of her escape from NYC and corporate America (she was a bigwig at Martha Stewart) to her garden sanctuary in the country. I had hoped for some gardening essays, some thoughtful but practical commentary on her experience...anything but what actually ended up on the page, which was chapter after chapter of rambling, free-form self doubt and the recurring question of who ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Heather rated it it was ok
I have enormous respect for a diligent devotee of gardening and all things botanical and ecological (thus the birds, frogs, and Jack the cat that grace the book). Gardening (and nature) has saved my sorry soul many times over. Margaret Roach did a brave and ballsy thing and I applaud her for that. She seemed to plan very well from young age where she really was going in life -- she purchased a home in the country 20 plus years before her Manhattan escape. She was slowly and methodically ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Kristen rated it did not like it
This book falls into a category I tend to call "white lady with deep thoughts doing yoga." And that is not entirely fair in this case, as Margaret Roach notes, more than once, that she used to do yoga but no longer does. I admire Roach for really doing what so many fantasize about in a gauzy way during crowded rides on the subway: she actually does leave the high-powered, exciting job in NYC to move to a tiny town and putter in her garden all day. But the writing here is so navel-directed, so ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Marija rated it liked it
I'm of two minds with this book. First mind: she's a beautiful writer. Sometimes the words she chooses are surprising but spot-on. I liked her stream-of-consciousness style, and I liked her as a person for the most part.

Then, round about the end of the book, she talks about the tragedy of getting a haircut by a "local" hairdresser, as opposed to the big-city one she'd gone to for years. Going to the local was so devastating that she actually cried. I thought it was really demeaning to whoever cu
Mar 22, 2011 Alicia rated it it was ok
I was disappointed that she didn't describe more fully what it is like to work for Martha Stewart and MS Omnimedia, though there may be a confidentiality agreement that prevents her from doing so.

The usual cliches of a middle aged American woman going to expensive spiritual retreats particularly grated on my nerves.

I felt that the book was repetitive and not edited with sufficient rigor. I also felt that she could have benefited from the example she quoted, Little House in the Big Woods, which i
Apr 14, 2012 Melody rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
Unreadable. Chaotic. Unfocused. Meandering. Run-on. In the end, entirely put-down-able- in all senses of the phrase. I'm disappointed, because I really wanted to like it.
Mar 22, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
While I was reading this I was thinking that it was a 4 star book - at first I didn't even like it and thought I might return it to the library mostly unread, but luckily I kept going and now I really have to give it 5 stars. Just beautifully written, for one thing, but it was more just Ms. Roach's story and how she was so able to explain who she really was, and who she was both becoming and leaving behind - I loved it. Full of good quotes and things to think about and if you believe in any sort ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it
Roach had a high level job with the Martha Stewart Corporation but in her early 50s decided to chuck it all and move to her upstate NY country home. Sound familiar? It is but Roach writes about more than the challenges of a somewhat neurotic career woman moving to the country and trying to conquer a new way of life. Her mission was to concentrate on gardening and in finding herself, but it's not easy to give up an identity that is so closely related to a lifelong career. Her "loudest" question ...more
Book Concierge
Roach left her high-powered job with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to retire to her rural house in upstate New York. She had purchased the home many years previously and used it as a weekend getaway, but living there full time was decidedly different.

The subtitle of this book is Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road and I was expecting a memoir that explored the wonders of nature, gardening, wildlife and “neighbors” (who live a mile away).
Roach does include some of this. Her observat
Jul 14, 2011 Vicky rated it did not like it
Shelves: gardening
I picked up this book because I enjoy the author's garden blog. Basically this memoir is about Margaret Roach, a Martha Stewart Living executive, who leaves the fast lane in NYC in order to garden full-time in the country.

I think I would have liked this book if I were a different person with different experiences. I am not over fifty, or a career woman who works crazy hours. I'm not neurotic, or afraid of lightening and snakes and going outside without earrings on, nor am I a person who plunks d
Jun 21, 2012 Kathy rated it did not like it
My husband's coworker has decided to take early retirement. She and her husband bought a small cottage with a beautiful garden which they plan to maintain and to enlarge. I saw Margaret Roach's "And I Shall Have Some Peace There" at the library and was fascinated by her similar plan. That is until I actually read Roach's book. This book is nothing but rambling nonsense. There is no direction or purpose. She writes of boyfriends and hired matchmakers and her cat and her strange childhood. I found ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Chris rated it did not like it
I was so disappointed in this book. It sounded potentially great and, in fact, she's a very talented writer. For a while it was interesting. But she never moved beyond being sooooooo boringly self-congratulatory. Examining the minutiae of the whole of her life in unending degree. I found it was making me tense to read it - the very opposite of my purpose in choosing it. A sad disappointment. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone, unfortunately. By the time I'd finished half of it, I skimmed to see ...more
Nov 21, 2010 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Interesting opportunity to follow the thoughts of the author as she leaves her corporate life behind. As someone who alsoenjoys solitude (which isn't the same as loneliness), it was easy to relate. An excellent memoir, well written and without excessive navel gazing. I enjoyed the small surprises.

*Note: This book was provided through the Barnes and Noble ARC program with the expectation of an honest review. My opinions are my own.
Feb 26, 2012 Susan rated it did not like it
I love Margaret Roach's gardening blog, so was very much looking forward to reading this book. Was very disappointed. Rambling, disjointed and hard to follow. I kept pressing on, hoping that the book would improve, or that she would have some epiphany or breakthrough, but it never happened. Still think her gardening blog is wonderful.
Apr 21, 2013 Debra rated it really liked it
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book! I really enjoyed Roach's topic-hopping reference laden stream of consciousness style of writing depite the fact that I cannot relate to wanting to live alone in the country surrounded by critters and spending my time gardening!
May 07, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
I wone it throught the Goodreads first reads contest and boy am I glad I signed up for this one I really enjoyed it!
I picked this book because it has that theme I love so much: moving from the hustle and bustle to a rural setting, one that involves a lot of gardening. This is probably my favorite non-fiction topic.
Then I started reading the book and almost went on a killing spree (not really); it was so irritating and frustrating. It was frustrating because I felt like I was island-hopping, jumping from one notable moment to the next non-annoying anecdote but with a LOT of noise and complaint in between. I'd
Ron Mentzer
Sep 20, 2016 Ron Mentzer rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but at the same time I wondered if it didn't represent a contemporary cross between Helen Nearing and Martha Stewart. The author's descriptions of her garden and the life in that garden were wonderful.
Marie E.
Overall I found this book interesting. The author leaves her high powered job for life in the country doing her passion, gardening. Her goal is to mark her transition into this new life, from too much thinking, too much doing to learning how to just be and live in the moment. I think she makes some great strides in achieving her goal, and I think she thinks she has achieved it by the end.

To that end, I find it really interesting that a person who is trying not to think so much and learn to live
Cara St.Hilaire
Jul 08, 2011 Cara St.Hilaire rated it really liked it
As someone working in the corporate sector in the world who spends her days longing to be in her garden, this was an absolute must-read for me. Here you have successful Margaret Roach with the job that many women/people would die to have–at Martha Stewart Living–who found a way to let all of the pressures go to live in a secluded place with a very slow pace…just to be one with nature.

This story isn’t gardening 101 or any form of a self-help manual, but rather a story that belongs to the author.
Feb 07, 2012 Diana rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Margaret Roach's garden is beyond beautiful. I have toured her garden and seen her lecture and can only hope to achieve that kind of greenery masterpiece.

This book, though.. really needed a ghostwriter. No plot to speak of, distracting asides, chapters full of indecision and rambling. For someone so successful, she comes off as very unsure of herself. Why publish a whole book of your insecurities? She repeatedly interrupts her own sentences with phrases like "(did I just say that?)", making it
May 16, 2012 Mari rated it liked it
Works referenced:

Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton-read?
Plant Dreaming Deep- May Sarton- read?

Memorable Passages:

When you are chopping wood, just chop wood.

I am a woman who increasingly basks in the quality of just enough, and not a pinch more.

Increasingly, it's not even the evening wine I desire, but simply to put down my story of me: my myth, one that I can grow older with in comfort and style. Since the old one no longer fits-like the wardrobe hanging in my closet, a vestige of a life left
Apr 03, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Margaret Roach, formerly the editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, retires at about age 50 and moves from New York City to her weekend home in rural New York. Freed for the first time from the constraints of earning a paycheck and the strictures (and structure) of a workday life scheduled in 15-minute increments by her assistant--a life in which she was never hungry and in which she took the quickest showers possible because she couldn't even enjoy the luxury of a long, hot ...more
Aug 13, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
This is the story of a highly stressed executive woman/weekend country gal and her metamorphosis into a (well, almost) fearless, full-time country gal as she quits her big-name NYC position and pretty much everything else having to do with the city. Though she wouldn't call herself a "real" country girl, her earliest yearnings were for a house in the woods surrounded by gardens and terraces and creature-welcoming grounds and ponds of her own making. Indeed, she is now living out those yearnings ...more
Robin Ripley
Mar 16, 2011 Robin Ripley rated it really liked it
I like Margaret Roach. Having traded a few tweets with her over the past couple of years, I feel like I know her--just a little bit--although I have never met her. So I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of her book.

Reading this book was like peaking into someone's head. It wasn't all pretty and tidy. It was a little messy, a little happy, a little sad, a lot confused. Her move from NYC to the country didn't happen overnight, but her transition to a country lifestyle certainly did. To read th
Rori Rischak
I was so disappointed by this book. I loved the premise: big city girl quits her job and moves out to the country, spending her days working in the garden and achieving self-actualization. Exactly the sort of escapism that you would never have the luxury to do yourself, but would adore having the opportunity to read about.

I think I gave up somewhere between 100 and 150 pages in. She starts out with her thoughts all cluttered, and I felt pretty frenzied and unenthusiastic about what I was reading
May 09, 2013 Katee rated it it was amazing
I decided to write a review after reading the other reviews – which are all over the place. I get why: it is a very well written book, very introspective (by definition of a memoir about a woman going through a huge life transition), but not for everyone.

While I enjoyed Eat, Love, Pray, which this has been compared to, I feel that many women completely misunderstood that these women are sharing their journeys, and that each of us has to find our own journey (case in point: women on Oprah saying
Jeanne Grunert
Apr 10, 2016 Jeanne Grunert rated it liked it
I wish I could have liked this book better, as I think the author is a good writer. However, it's hard to muster up sympathy for someone who seems to have been handed life on a silver platter. She's not even a college graduate and she lands a position as EVP of Martha Stewart Living, which she leaves behind to live in her country house. Yet she keeps an apartment in the city, returns for shopping and haircut binges, and when the going gets tough, runs to her guru, psychiatrist, and expensive ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Liz rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to this book and curious why it had a rather low average rating on Goodreads. At first I really admired the intricate, carefully crafted sentences--they almost made me think of someone assembling a giant jigsaw puzzle--but I ended up going 50 pages and out. First, I got irritated by the constant use of quotations. I think by the time I stopped reading, I must have heard from everyone from Socrates to Jimi Hendrix, sometimes three or four quotations on the same page. And the ...more
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"I garden because I cannot help myself," says Margaret Roach, and "The Backyard Parables" (January 2013) shares what she has learned about horticulture, and life, in the process of digging ever deeper. In December 2007, Roach walked away from New York City and her job as EVP/Editorial Director of Martha Stewart, because she craved other rewards: solitude, a return to the creativity of writing, and ...more
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“SHE OF NOBODY ELSE'S BIDDING: That is who I am now--someone who has not done what anyone else said since July 2008, though not because I am either disobedient or a slacker.” 2 likes
“(If you think you want to live in the country, start by clearing a thicket of brambles, invasive woody vines, and choked, decaying trees, and then decide. This or its equivalent will basically become your life practice. There are always thorny bits in your path, always.) Back” 0 likes
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