Miri's Reviews > This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone

This Life Is in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman
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's review
Dec 31, 2015

it was ok
bookshelves: goodreads-first-reads, biography-and-memoir, female-authors
Read from May 10 to June 16, 2011

I received this book through Goodreads FirstReads.

The life the Coleman family lived is incredibly intriguing, and it was so interesting to read about the original "back-to-the-land" movement in the 1970s. After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I fell in love with the idea of raising and growing all your own food, and there's a part of me that loves the idea of homesteading as well--although after reading this book, I know for certain that I would never actually do it. The story of their farm life, with their neighbors and apprentices all working to bring together each aspect of it, is very unique.

The personal story of the family is tragic and much less fun to read. It's hard to imagine the kind of toll such a life would take on people's emotions, but even so, I couldn't help myself wanting to assign blame for the way their life fell apart. The contentment of their way of life doesn't mesh well with the tragedy in their home.

The story itself is fascinating, but I don't care much for the way Coleman writes. Her style is too flowery and wordy and completely overdone for my taste. All too frequently, sometimes twice in one page, I read sentences like these:

"The forest closed around us with the smells of cedar and spruce and the white of bunchberry dogwood flowers popping from the muted greens and browns. We hopscotched over the exposed roots and past the old log covered in wiry-green moss and an army of red-hatted British soldiers."

"I can see our two little figures hanging over the face of the curved green earth, the universe sighing above us, vast and unknown. The soil, forests, and waters held in them the promise of survival if we could learn their secrets, but pumping our legs together on the swing, Heidi and I hoped only to reach the sky."

They don't sound that bad on their own, but there are so many like these that I had to stop after two examples because I just couldn't decide which ones to share. It's all too much, tries too hard to be epic and ethereal and philosophical. As it is, it's an interesting story and definitely worth a read; but if it had been written by someone else, I think, I may have liked the book quite a bit more.

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Reading Progress

05/15/2011 page 39
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