Monday, November 04, 2013

Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm by Mardi Jo Link

When you think of survival stories you might envision a tale of a storm-crippled vessel adrift at sea in dire need of rescue or maybe that of a lone hiker disoriented and lost in the wilderness fervently seeking civilization. Bootstrapper is a story of survival as well, though one with a more tenacious day-to-day element but certainly no less absorbing. And a better title could not have been chosen for this heart-rending and inspiring book.

Faced with the end of a nineteen-year marriage, limited income potential as a free-lance writer/editor and a growing mountain of debt, Link is desperately determined to hold on to the six acre farm in Northern Michigan she shares with her three boys. Her resilience and resourcefulness in keeping food on the table and a roof over their head is not only impressive but uplifting too. With a mix of humor, refreshing candor and self-reflection, Link chronicles the daily struggles her family must overcome and the creative means by which she surmounts them, often with the invaluable help from her sons.

In order to hold on to the farmhouse and keep her family together, Link devises some unconventional methods by which to establish a self-sufficient farm. There are the occasions when due to unpaid heating bills she and her boys pile in their van trolling the roadway for dropped pieces of firewood. Or the time when Link gets the brilliant idea of acquiring a steady supply of free fresh eggs by purchasing baby chicks and then only to find several months later that one of them is a rooster who develops a most unpleasant personality.

Bootstrapper is available in print and as a downloadable audiobook on the VBPL catalog.

Readers who enjoy this quick-paced tale of dogged determination to overcome the odds may also like Elsewhere by Richard Russo and Rolling Pennies in the Dark by Douglas MacKinnon.

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