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In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents, Eliot and Sue - a handsome, idealistic young couple from well-to-do families - pack a few essentials into their VW truck and abandon the complications of modern reality to carve a farm from the woods. They move to a remote peninsula on the coast of Maine and become disciples of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible Living the Good Life. On 60 acres of sandy, intractable land, Eliot and Sue begin to forge a new existence, subsisting on the crops they grow and building a home with their own hands.
While they establish a happy family and achieve their visionary goals, the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price. Winters are long and lean, summers frenetic with the work of the harvest, and the distraction of the many young farm apprentices threatens the Colemans' marriage. Then, one summer day when Melissa is seven, her three-year-old sister, Heidi, wanders off and drowns in the pond where she liked to play. In the wake of the accident, ideals give way to human frailty, divorce, and a mother's breakdown - and ultimately young Melissa is abandoned to the care of neighbors.
What really happened, and who, if anyone, is to blame? This Life Is in Your Hands is the search to understand a complicated past; a true story, both tragic and redemptive, it tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the power of forgiveness.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Pamela Harvey on 08-24-11
Not as advertised
This reads more like a documentary on organic farming, narrated by a child, and was nowhere near as interesting as the publisher's description. The details drone on and on, without nuance or layers of perception, feelings, character development, and the critical event takes place only at the end of the book. A "Family Undone"? Sounded like things barely registered on the characters' emotional Richter scale. If I could give this zero stars I would.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Anne on 04-30-11
The worst reader ever
Normally I like to hear an author read a book if they can speak clearly -- this woman has a voice which is both squeaky and scratchy at the same time. Plus she sounds like a little girl reading words which are too big for her -- It is excruciating listening. I am going to forfeit the 21 dollars I just spent and get it from the library to read because it might be a good book I couldn't get past the first 20 minutes.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful