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Flat Broke with Two Goats

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  14,826 ratings  ·  2,257 reviews
Jennifer McGaha never expected to own a goat named Merle. Or to be setting Merle up on dates and naming his doeling Merlene. She didn't expect to be buying organic yogurt for her chickens. She never thought she would be pulling camouflage carpet off her ceiling or rescuing opossums from her barn and calling it date night. Most importantly, Jennifer never thought she would ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Sourcebooks
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Average rating 3.25  · 
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 ·  14,826 ratings  ·  2,257 reviews

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Daniel Casey
Jan 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was tiresome. Although easy reading & clearly well crafted, the ultimate thrust of this memoir is petty & myopic. It is a bourgeois tale of roughing it where responsibility is never taken & the author is never able to see beyond her own nose
j e w e l s
This book was the choice for my local library "Big Read". Though somewhat entertaining, I'm at a loss as to why the library chose this particular book. The author is a college English instructor, but her writing never rises above beginning blogger level. So many cliches! Positive events are "like winning the lottery!" Grueling ordeals are "like completing a marathon!" Ughhhhhh. Nobody asked me, but I would prefer actual literature to be read and discussed within libraries.

This is a kind of Riche
Elyse  Walters
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook.... read by Pam Ward

Financial mis-management has consequences!!!

Listening to this Audiobook was at times mind-boggling. It did hold my attention!
The author admittedly shared that her kids attended private schools,
she lived in a beautiful home, threw large decadent dinner parties, owned 5 dogs,
Her ACCOUNTANT husband admitted ( one night in bed) that he didn’t have enough money LEFT OVER to pay their taxes for 4 years.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
How could you resist a memoir with the title Flat Broke With Two Goats? I couldn't and I don't regret it. Jennifer McGaha and her husband David were living an upper middle class life near Asheville, North Carolina. They had two kids in college and one in private school, a big house and two cars. But it turned out that they were spending way more money than they earned. The solution to their troubles was giving up their house and moving to a cabin in the woods. McGaha's memoir is a bit of a mishm ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia is about a woman and her husband
downgrading because of some bad financial decisions.
I felt this book should have been titled Whaaa or maybe Poor David.
The writing was good but the author doesn't accept personal responsibility
for anything that happened to her.
Chris Maier
Feb 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
One of the most frustrating stories I've ever read. The author, and lead character stumbles through life and never seems to get any wiser as a result of her mistakes and flaws. She simplistically recites an unending series of pathetic activities and actions that are SO easy to fix it avoid. A train wreck from start to finish. Glad it's over. ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was a frustrating read. At every turn, McGaha and her husband make cringe-worthy decisions. How do you owe a hundred grand to the IRS, lose your home to foreclosure, screw over two friends in the deal, then brag about how much you love to buy and drink (expensive) craft beer? Or talk about how much you respect how hard your grandparents and great-grandparents worked to raise their families in rural Appalachia while you wring your hands over your financial ruin, make few changes to curb your ...more
Apr 09, 2018 marked it as dnf-lost-interest
DNF at 40%
I can’t take any more of this author playing the repetitious role of victim...
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
The writing is good, the content is self-delusional.
The reason why the rating stopped at 4 stars was that this memoir was too wordy in some places. A creative writing faux pas sometimes.

But overall it was a wonderful, inspirational read of a woman who had to come to terms with the consequences of living way above their means, and then came crushing down when things went seriously sour.

She blamed her husband, he was in charge of the finances, she said. Not mentioning that she was the one doing the spending, most of the time. Sending their kids to
Apr 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was advertised by my local library as some kind of national book club thing so I checked it out.
I chose to finish reading this book but struggled to motivate myself. The entire thing just felt like a rambling monologue covering such various topics as; finance, family history, dream interpretation, farming/homesteading, construction, animal husbandry, online shopping, and goat ailments.
Looking for something meaningful and uplifting was difficult amongst the listings of all the challenge
Kirstin Larson
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is flat out insulting to people who have ACTUALLY suffered unanticipated, devastating disasters in their lives. It is hard not to judge the insufferable author, who excuses her own culpability and whines her way through her own personal tale of poverty, populated by private-school educations for her 3 children and 'snobbish' craft beers. In a world full of ACTUAL suffering and sacrifice, this book is a self-indulgent piece of crap. I seldom pan a book, but this one truly missed the mar ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
**Big Library Read selection--April, 2018. I think I might be done with these Big Library Reads, picked by librarians from around the world. They are so often not to my tastes and leave me wondering why they were ever chosen.

In this memoir, Jennifer McGaha tells the story of what happened when her family lost everything in the Recession of 2008. Her husband David was an accountant who allowed himself and his family to fall more than $350,000 in debt: credit cards maxed, cars being repossessed,
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
The choice of this book for a 'Big Library Read' is confusing to me. How in the world was this book selected - from among all of the amazing writing about experiences across the spectrum of poverty and rural life - for an Overdrive-sponsored discussion? That selection is what brought me to read the book, and to holding INCREDIBLY mixed feelings about the memoir.

This book requires me to really embrace a both/and approach to reviewing -- not for the writing itself, but to tease apart the places wh
Yukari Watanabe
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book because of Big Library Read.

It's a hard memoir for me to rate. On the one hand I liked McGaha's writing, but on the other hand I disliked McGaha's thoughts and actions.

McGaha had a perfect upper-middle class American childhood. She never needed to worry about money. She was so used to be taken care of by someone else, and she still expects it. That I think is a major reason why the couple got into the financial ruin.

If you are from financially less fortunate family, you
Devon Tutak
What is the Dewey decimal range for “white privilege”?

I read this book as part of the #BigLibraryRead, and am disappointed that the initiative chose a book that whitewashes poverty and shines a light on middle-class fiscal irresponsibility, instead of a book that addresses the systems that create real poverty (the kind where you can’t afford to buy and raise goats and drink craft beer every day). I hope next time, the #BigLibraryRead will choose a book that actually challenges readers.
aPriL does feral sometimes
Jennifer and David McGaha did not pay their Federal and North Carolina income taxes for four years. David did not tell Jennifer about this for all of those four years. He was a professional accountant and part-time real estate agent, and she an adjunct teacher mostly working part-time at private schools despite her Masters degree. They had three kids - Alex, their daughter, and Aaron, their oldest son, were in college, and Eli, their youngest son was a senior in high school, when their home of e ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies
I started out loving this book, then I was bewildered, and finally I was bored. I enjoy stories of people who survive and thrive during trying times but I was completely thrown by a woman who knows nothing about her finances. Then goats, goats and more goats.
Una Tiers
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The goats and chickens are the best part of the book. The author lives with her head in the sand. She never grows up.
So one star for the goats. another for the chickens and one for clear writing.
I will be more careful with library picks for books.
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intrigued by the title, I chose this book with only a passing glance at the marketing blurb. I assumed Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia was in the genre of books by and about people who had willingly left the city or suburbs to pursue their dream of homestead living. It's not -- and that's what made it so much more interesting.

Jennifer McGaha and her husband had lived in the Asheville, NC area their entire lives. In the years leading up to the 2008 financial collapse they had ov
Apr 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was a difficult, tiresome and frustrating one to navigate. I should say I am one who applauds anyone who has the ability to put pen to paper but I am disheartened this book was chosen for the global Big Read Library selection. Why? My six reasons: 1. There is only so much detailed animal husbandry one can take in a memoir. I now know more about the vulva of a goat than life in a cabin in the Appalachians. 2. The financial irresponsibility of two educated adults is appalling. Foreclosur ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
At age 16 my grandmother and uncle took me with them to West Plains, MO. I had spent a few years reading books about mountain people, and it is obvious that I still do, and so this was a chance of a lifetime. As we were driving down a road I saw a woman with a small herd of goats. I wanted to be that woman. My uncle called her a goat lady. I now buy goat milk from a friend of mine who doesn’t know that she is also referred to as a goat lady by me. So this book was right up my alley.

The author is
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
As a “How-not-to-do” book, this gets 3 stars.

Whilst I feel the same way about animals as these two people do (love them in equal measure as human beings, if not more), I found myself angered by every single decision they made, and every decision was a poor one.

Jennifer McGaha and her husband David were living a comfortable life in a nice home, when it came to light that David, an accountant, had failed to pay their taxes for five years. Apparently David sucked as an accountant........ He prepar
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
this lady was an idiot. I'm sorry. I couldn't bring myself to care about her even the littlest bit. It not cute or empathy-worthy to dig your head in the sand in regards to your finances. She deserves everything that happened to her. How do you just not know if your husband filed taxes over the past few YEARS?! It's not like tax season is a big secret. Also x after he proved himself untrustworthy with bills in the first place, why did she continue to leave him in charge of things like car paymen ...more
Lydia Wren
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Spoiler alert. Snark warning.

I read this on audiobook. The first third of the book is a loooooong, detailed story of financial woe. "We spent all our money living high on the hog and spoiling our children. We didn't pay our creditors and also failed to pay taxes for years and years, even though my husband is an accountant. We shafted our friends and now skulk around avoiding them. Poor us. We are so sad that now we are going to have to pay our share, and can no longer live in the luxury to which
Laura Myers
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have to say, this memoir just didn’t do it for me. While I found certain aspects and chapters entertaining, I found much of it flat. I never really felt invested and the ending, for me, was utterly abrupt. Also, it’s my humble opinion this particular memoir would have been vastly enhanced with a smattering of pictures, of the property, certainly of the goats and even the chickens. I can’t decide if I wanted to know more or less about her children. This is the first time I’ve been disappointed ...more
❀ Susan G
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads

I love to “read” audio books when I am driving and the library has a great selection to borrow from. At the top of the listing was Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia telling the story of a couple who had defaulted on their home after neglecting to pay 4 years of taxes. With $4.57 in the bank, they had to move to a dilapidated cabin in North Carolina. This book was permanently available as it is the book chosen for the global Big Library Read
Valerity (Val)
This was a book about losing it all but also about owning up to your part. It's also about grief and rebuilding. I found it to be very beautifully written. It kept my interest well all the way through and there were tears more than once, a very moving story. Thanks for reading. A copy was provided by NetGalley for my review
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Oh man - this book was a button-pusher for me. Can't wait until book club to unload!

The author and her husband live beyond their means, and soon end up in debt. Despite the electricity being turned off occasionally and some one showing up to repossess her car, the author does not collar her husband and ask the questions that need to be asked. Maybe that's because if she knew their financial position, she would need to discontinue chairing the silent auction, attending Longaberger basket parties
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This memoir is all over the place. It starts when the author discovers her husband has not been paying taxes, goes back to chronicle how they met and how physically abusive he was during the early days of her marriage, and then speaks of their decision to allow their house to be foreclosed. Thankfully the couple found a farm where they could live relatively cheap. It here that the couple--still

This memoir is a cautionary tale for people living paycheck to paycheck about the domino effect of let
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Big Library Read: Life Adjustments 2 17 Apr 10, 2018 11:24AM  
Big Library Read: Cabin Life 2 14 Apr 10, 2018 11:22AM  
Big Library Read: Cooking as an outlet 1 4 Mar 23, 2018 10:22AM  
Big Library Read: New Adventures 1 5 Mar 23, 2018 10:19AM  
Big Library Read: Goat Antics 1 4 Mar 23, 2018 10:17AM  

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A native of Appalachia, Jennifer McGaha lives with her husband, five dogs, twenty-three chickens, and one high-maintenance cat in a tin-roofed cabin bordering the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. Her creative nonfiction work has appeared in Brooklyner, Toad Suck Review, Switchback, Still, Portland Review, Little Patuxent Review, Lumina, Literary Mama, Mason’s Road, Now and Then, a ...more

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