From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm

By Mardi Jo Link
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307596918, 257pp.)

Publication Date: June 11, 2013

List Price: $24.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the June 2013 Indie Next List
“Webster's definition of bootstrap is 'carried out with minimum resources or advantages.' Link picked the perfect title for her memoir, revealing the guts and gumption she exhibited to secure what was most important for herself and her three sons. Unwilling to let a divorce drive her family from their small working farm in northern Michigan, Link is relentless in facing down the seemingly never-ending obstacles. Her belief in the virtues of hard work, family, and self-sufficiency are tested every day in a year relived filled with honor and intimacy in full-moon chapters.”
-- Marla Van Hook, Horizon Books, Traverse City, MI


Poignant, irreverent, and hilarious: a memoir about survival and self-discovery, by an indomitable woman who never loses sight of what matters most. 

It’s the summer of 2005, and Mardi Jo Link’s dream of living the simple life has unraveled into debt, heartbreak, and perpetually ragged cuticles. She and her husband of nineteen years have just called it quits, leaving her with serious cash-flow problems and a looming divorce. More broke than ever, Link makes a seemingly impossible resolution: to hang on to her century-old farmhouse in northern Michigan and continue to raise her three boys on well water and wood chopping and dirt. Armed with an unfailing sense of humor and three resolute accomplices, Link confronts blizzards and foxes, learns about Zen divorce and the best way to butcher a hog, dominates a zucchini-growing contest and wins a year’s supply of local bread, masters the art of bargain cooking, wrangles rampaging poultry, and withstands any blow to her pride in order to preserve the life she wants.

With an infectious optimism that would put Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm to shame and a deep appreciation of the natural world, Link tells the story of how, over the course of one long year, she holds on to her sons, saves the farm from foreclosure, and finds her way back to a life of richness and meaning on the land she loves. 

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