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Extended Audio Sample Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm, by Mardi Jo Link Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mardi Jo Link Narrator: Karen Whit Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Poignant, irreverent, and hilarious—Bootstrapper is the memoir of a woman who, after ending her nineteen-year marriage, staves off a perpetually empty bank account, saves her century-old farmhouse from foreclosure with the help of her three young sons, and reclaims her life.

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. Still, when she and her husband call it quits, leaving her more broke than ever, Link makes a seemingly impossible resolution: to hang on to her northern Michigan farm and continue to raise her boys on well water and wood chopping and dirt. Armed with an unfailing sense of humor and her three resolute accomplices, Link confronts blizzards and coyotes, 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, deals with rampaging poultry, and finds her way to a truly rich existence.

Told with endless heart and candor, Bootstrapper is a story of motherhood and survival and self-discovery, of an indomitable woman who, against all the odds, holds on to what matters most.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Link’s story possesses that rare, elusive, but much sought-after feeling of authenticity…Glints with Link’s raw, willful energy.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A heroic-comic saga of single motherhood, pure stubbornness, and the loyalty of three young sons. And more than that, an honest account of the working poor, the people who buy day-old bread, patronize libraries, rarely go to movies, and don’t need your sympathy. Just a break now and then.”

    Garrison Keillor

  • “Many memoirs about the trauma of divorce are available today, but none of them is as dynamic as Mardi Jo Link’s fittingly titled Bootstrapper.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Electric, candid…A country song of a memoir, complete with a broken-down truck named Cookie. It’s great fun to listen to once, full blast.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Hilarious, wrenching, and heartwarming, Link’s poignant memoir chronicles one woman’s determination to discover meaning and wholeness in the midst of brokenness. It’s almost as if Cheryl Strayed had stayed down on the farm instead of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.”


  • “You’ll fall in love with Mardi Jo Link’s family in this irreverent and heartwarming memoir depicting her heroic fight to hold on to her northern Michigan farm and the simple way of life she wants to preserve for her three young sons.”


  • “A potent cocktail of ingenuity and humor…about a mother’s fierce love and the sustaining fabric of family…Direct, funny, void of self-pity, and exceedingly humane.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Tough, honest, and appealing…[It] will appeal to the bootstrapper in all of us.”


  • “Funny…Honest…A tale of grit and determination…You can’t help but admire the ingenuity of this four-member team, each stepping up during one crisis or another.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • Selected for the June 2013 Indie Next List
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