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From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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. 

This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide. 

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 15, 2013 – Separated from her soon-to-be ex-husband, Link (Isadore's Secret) is suddenly living the life of a homesteader. Through adversities and tight finances, and with humor and biting wit, Link chronicles her struggle to provide for her three sons and hang on to her little farmstead. When bills pile up, lucking into prize money from a zucchini contest turns out to be a major windfall. As the cold Michigan winter sets in, there is no money for the heating bill and the clan scrounges the roadsides for firewood, until the summer arrives when they can tend to their garden and rear a flock of chickens. The realities of living off the land, though, require determination, as "food gathering methods...deviate from a grocery store, a grocery cart, and a checkbook." Through it all, rather than becoming overwhelmed by desperate circumstances, Link perseveres. With resilience, resourcefulness, and plain stubbornness, she manages to hold everything together, all while keeping her family's pride and dignity intact. Her experience as a single parent will resonate with any single mom and her story of what it's like to raise your own food out of necessity serves as a cautionary tale to anyone who has ever romantically dreamed of "living the simple life."

Customer Reviews


Loved the book and as a former single mother appreciate the story of the author’s grit through all the adversity she and her boys experienced.

View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jun 11, 2013
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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