Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Life Is in Your Hands: A Memoir by Melissa Coleman

About book:

A true story, both tragic and redemptive, This Life Is in Your Hands, tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the power of forgiveness.

In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents pack their VW truck and set out to forge a new existence on a rugged coastal homestead.  Inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible, Living the Good Life, Eliot and Sue build their own home by hand, live off the crops they grow, and establish a happy family with Melissa and her two sisters.  They also attract national media and become icons of the back-to-the-land farming movement, but the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price.  In the wake of a tragic accident, idealism gives way to human frailty, and by the fall of 1978, Greenwood Farm is abandoned.  The search to understand what happened is at the heart of this luminous, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive memoir. 

My thoughts:

Story:  tries too hard.

Writing:  verbose.

Overall:  DNF (did not finish).

This Life Is in Your Hands was supposed to be an interesting book reminiscent of a Little House episode ( a show that I love and still watch ) - or at least that is what I wanted it to be.  After all it is about a couple who leaves the comforts of society behind in order to pursue a homesteading type of lifestyle.  What is homesteading? Well, it pretty much means living off the land.  Eliot and Sue purchased 60 acres of land where they built a house, grew crops and raised three daughters.  Of course, ups and downs were had, but I have no idea of them all since I didn't finish reading the book.  And its the homesteading part - building your own house and living off the land that reminded me of Little House - how could it not?  Anyhow, I was only able to read up to 50 pages before I put the book down and decided to stop.  I just could not keep reading.  I found the story to be dull and uninteresting.  The writing was just too wordy and flowery for my taste.  Also, what really annoyed me was the way she wrote about her parent's lives before she was born.  She wrote as if she were alive to witness how they met and married and decided to become homesteaders. You get the sense that she was the one experiencing these moments, not her parents - this I found rather jarring and disruptive.  In fact, it made the flow of the story tone rather unappealing to me, which is why I
stopped reading.  I just found that I didn't care to learn anymore about Melissa or her parents or sisters.  And, so, This Life Is in Your Hands became a DNF.

Of course, from the other reviews I've read, it seems like I might have missed something, since they all seem to rave about this book.  So, if you are interested to learn more about this book, then check out the other stops on this TLC book tour at this site.  

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


Tamara said...

As a child of 'Hippys' (or homesteaders) in the 70's myself I know there are many stories from my life that would make great reading to mainstreamers - however I think sometimes that my experience was secondary to that of my parents - I just lived the consequences of their dreams - I couldn't tell their story, but I could imagine their passion for the lifestyle. I dont think I'd pick up this book either because I have my own experiences, which I both love and hate... but they're my stories.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Darn, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you, but thanks for being on the tour.

Nadia said...

Tamara, exactly! You have your stories to share, so share those, right? I'm in agreement, Tamara!

Heather, oh well, you can't love them all, right? Thanks for having me on the tour though :)