Mary Cronk'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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Sep 13, 12


I enjoyed this memoir. Melissa Coleman grew up in different circumstances than most Americans today. It is the story of growing up on a self sufficient farm that had little technology and meager resources. There was a certain detachment is parts of the book, like she was looking at her past life as a new person and not the old. Although the story was of heartbreak, there were good years in the beginning that were enriching and loving. But, it was a life of poverty and deprivation in terms of the material world.

It bothered me somewhat that she never had any shots or medical care. It seems to me that educated parents would still want to have a few checkups etc. Melissa was so isolated from the rest of the world. She had trouble coping with schools. I suppose there was no such thing as home schooling at the time, otherwise her parents probably would have tried that.

I have enjoyed other memoirs and novels about communal farms in the sixties and seventies. But this is not a story about a commune as the philosophy was more about self sufficiency without the help from many others. There were helpers (interns) but they were learning more about farming than people or at least trying to.

It was a hard place for a child. Melissa kept remembering Helen Nearing warning that it was a hard life for children and babies. Indeed it was for Melissa.

I enjoyed the book. I hope she writes another.
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