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Growing Girls: The Mother of All Adventures

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Award-winning author Jeanne Marie Laskas has charmed and delighted readers with her heartwarming and hilarious tales of life on Sweetwater Farm. Now she offers her most personal and most deeply felt memoir yet as she embarks on her greatest, most terrifying, most rewarding endeavor of all….

A good mother, writes Jeanne Marie Laskas in her latest report from Sweetwater Farm,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Bantam (first published July 21st 2005)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  225 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I liked Fifty Acres and a Poodle, but was disappointed in her 2nd book, so I was a little apprehensive about reading this one. I really enjoyed all the essays, and this one felt more complete, more like a whole book and less like a collection of random thoughts. The author's feelings about motherhood resonated with me, and while I can't begin to imagine all those animals needing to be cared for, the descriptive writing (dare I say it - "creative nonfiction?") was evoc ...more
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Many women have written books, or essays, in which they try to explain what motherhood is. And sometimes they get really, really close. But Ms. Laskas nails it. She hits the bull’s eye. This is the true story, written in an entertaining and very readable manner, of a couple who adopt two little Chinese girls and raise them out in the country. It is utterly perfect.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The third and to me, the best of this excellent series of memoirs. Laskas writes about the joys and conflicts of motherhood in an honest, engaging, and moving way. The book moved me to tears almost as often as it made me laugh out loud.
May 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Read this book in one day....Loved it as much as the other two. Laskas is one of my favorite writers, and this is coming from a fan of fiction, not creative nonfiction.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it liked it
This was the third in the series of books -- which began with 50 Acres and a Poodle. Loved that first book, the second, not as much, and the this third one even a little less. It still had some really cute parts though. Love her perspectives. Raising kids IS the Mother of all Adventures, and that she's just doing the best she can, and pushing through the trials, self-doubt and everything else that comes along with it makes this very real, and not surprising that it might have been a little harde ...more
Melissa Kayden
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Laskas' first two memoirs of farmlife and thought I would enjoy this one equally, as it is more about motherhood, etc. But Laskas spends just too much time waxing poetic and not enough covering real life. I did enjoy the antecdotes about the animals and the kids on the farm, but I wanted more of that.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I spotted this book in the library, and after doing a quick read of the inside jacket cover, I thought "Hmm, I love stories about farm life" and decided to read it. I didn't really thinking much about it not being entirely about farm life, but mostly about raising her two adopted daughters (you'd have thought the title would have given that away, but no, not to me, apparently). When I first started the book, I was annoyed. "I don't care about motherhood, just tell me about the farm!" I thought. ...more
Dec 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I could give this book negative stars I would. I know I have only myself to blame for any pain I endured; a book about adoption that has the subtitle "The Mother of All Adventures" is pretty clearly labeled "Reader Beware".

The author returns again to her same, tired formula (Quirky country neighbors! Navel gazing! More quirkiness! Life threatening illness! Cutsey exchanges with husband and kids! More navel gazing!). This book also features her self-defensiveness over adopting children from Ch
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a feel-good, laugh out loud at times, all around enjoyable read. The author struggles with self-doubt at some parenting decisions as I believe all good parents will at times. Her family seems healthy, happy and fulfilled. I'm sure the girls will go through teenage angst and perhaps resentment but that seems to be the norm for America's young seeking their own identities. I hope her daughters will never cease to believe that they are loved. If so, they should read this book.

I previously r
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: adoption
I used to read Jeanne Marie Laskas' column in the Post, especially once I discovered she was an adoptive mom to Chinese daughters. This book felt like reading one delightful column after another, moving me from laughter to tears sometimes in the same page. Laskas writes about the daily stuff around parenthood and life with an engaging voice and she truly reminds me that I read to know I'm not alone -- especially when it comes to this motherhood business. I'm just jealous of that farm, and the ho ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The chapter involving white guilt and the Transracial Abduction website was hard to read because, holy shit, are you seriously not aware of baby trafficking? Do you seriously not understand why POC who were adopted by white people, regardless of whether it was a legitimate adoption or part of a creepy baby trafficking ring or what, might be a wee bit angry, depending on who parented them and how and what the area they grew up in was like and, you know, a whole shitload of other shit? Jesus chris ...more
Mar 13, 2009 rated it liked it
A collection of essays on motherhood and life on a farm, Growing Girls was a great read--even if it was a slow start. Laskas has a way of describing the trials of motherhood that makes them both poignant and inconsequential at the same time. We can identify with the struggles of trying to get parenting "right" but at the same time realize that her love of her children trumps any mistakes she might make in decorating the valentine's cards or forgetting to bring the class game on party day. And if ...more
Feb 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Author shares her amazing story of motherhood and the adoption of two little baby girls from China. Heart-wrenching, yet comical, she tells how she & her husband raise these beautiful girls on a rural farm, rather than traditional suburbia. While she loves her daughters, she tries to find a balance in the guilt of taking them from their births mothers & homeland while understanding that they rescued them from a difficult, sad life in a Chinese orphanage.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I got this book from my sister Cathy bookcase.. It is a quirky memoir of a lady that adopts two children from China.. it is her struggles with being a parent, living on a farm and cultural issues of interracial adoptions.. I enjoyed the first half, yet now feel as if I have reached a standstill with it. It is very cute and funny underlying quotes and stories about raising two young girls. (2, 4, when the story opens.) I would recommend it to anyone that is a MOM!!
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, adoption
Devoured this one as well, her third memoir. LOVE her writing. It makes me laugh out loud. And there was so much in this specific book that spoke to me as a mom: having prison fantasies, for one. Hilarious.

I could tell, however, that this book was compiled from columns she's written for other sources, and that made the book not hang together as well. Plus, I never like the feeling that what I'm reading has been published somewhere else first. Like with Anne Lamott's recent nonfiction books.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The continuing story of "The Exact Same Moon" which is the continuing story of "Fifty Acres and a Poodle". This book is about the author and her husband raising their 2 adopted Chinese daughters. A very sweet story. It made me want to move to a farm.
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Good book! I enjoyed Fifty Acres and a Poodle and it's the same style. There are pages I will be taking notes from to add to my own personal journal - her thoughts on motherhood need to be revisited!
Sonja Cannell
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have really enjoyed all of Jeanne's books including "Fifty Acres and a Poodle" and "The Exact Same Moon". I love following her adventure of loving on a farm and raising a not so typical family -- she inspires me to adopt children, and to raise chickens!
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful read....down to earth....honest, funny, sad.....A "can't put it down kinda book"....At least that was the case for me as a mother of two daughters (and a son). A fabulous memoir and I learned a thing or two about farm life!
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Jeanne Marie Laskas books. She has a very casual way of writing that makes me feel like I'm having a conversation with an old friend. In this case, we discussed farm animals and motherhood.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
HILARIOUS!!! This is a book of short stories/vignettes about motherhood. And not just being a biological mother of a human, but being a mother of an animal, etc... Laskas is a great storyteller and made me laugh on more than one occasion.
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love her style of writing. It's like having a conversation with her or reading her journal. I also love her attitude toward being a mom, just loving those girls with all she has. I hope she writes another sequel! (See 50 Acres and a Poodle and The Exact Same Moon)
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very readable enjoyable memoir about parenting
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
A fun, light-hearted read.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read the first two of her wonderful non fiction books and just loved them. I hope she continues to write about her family and farm life.
Nov 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet book.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite books. Wish I had written it. Given to me by a great friend who totally "gets" me like no one else.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Kinda funny actually..a good perspective of any mothers 'thinking brain'!..or the feeling of 'lack of brain'! Yep..good story.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i used to read Laskas's column in the Washington Post Magazine. This was a nice was to reconnect as i miss her column. i found myself refering to it all week after i finished reading the book.
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
FUN book! I was laughing out loud many times.
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Jeanne Marie Laskas is an American writer and professor.

From 1994 until 2008 she was a regular, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post Magazine, where her "Significant Others" essays appeared weekly. She has written feature stories for GQ, where she is a correspondent. Formerly a Contributing Editor at Esquire, her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Sports
“Now, brooder is an interesting word. People who worry a lot in silence are known as brooders. But then again so is a hen sitting on her eggs. The more I get to know chickens, the more I realize half our language comes from chickens. Well, not half. But an awful lot considering this isn't Latin or anything. Cooped up. Egghead. Hatch a plan. Henpecked. Pecker. Cock. Chickenshit. Chicken-scratch. A lot of chicken words are meant to deliver attitude, which isn't surprising to me now that I have chickens. Chickens aren't background animals like fish or sheep or horses. Chickens are in-your-face animals. Chickens if you have them, come to bracket your days. The rooster hollers all morning, and then in the evening the hens have left you their mysterious gift of eggs.

Silkies are said to be excellent brooders, to have a tendency toward "broodiness." This, too, is usually meant as a compliment.”
“Brooding is more something I do when I'm working. I know so much more about sitting around worrying about a work project than I do about worrying about kids. This could just be a fact of life for older moms. We've worked and worked and worked and if we are lucky enough to finally have a child or two, we find ourselves suddenly catapulted into a most alien kind of chaos.

Work is so much easier. Anyone will tell you that. To have a desk, where you have everything all lined up, and a schedule you more or less get to agree to. Work. I am a worker. This is so funny because I never really think of my work as work. I certainly never though of myself as having a career. Writing, work, this is just who I am. I am a person who sits at a desk and makes phone calls and taps at a computer keyboard and sips coffee and calls her mom at five. That I am anything better or smaller than that has come as sudden news to me.

Brand new.

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