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Download This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone, by Melissa Coleman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,321 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Melissa Coleman Narrator: Melissa Coleman Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9780062081438
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“Lyrical and down-to-earth, wry and heartbreaking, This Life Is in Your Hands is a fascinating and powerful memoir. Melissa Coleman doesn’t just tell the story of her family’s brave experiment and private tragedy; she brings to life an important and underappreciated chapter of our recent history.” —Tom Perrotta 

In a work of power and beauty reminiscent of Tobias Wolff, Jeannette Walls, and Dave Eggers, Melissa Coleman delivers a luminous, evocative childhood memoir exploring the hope and struggle behind her family's search for a sustainable lifestyle. With echoes of The Liars’ Club and Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Coleman’s searing chronicle tells the true story of her upbringing on communes and sustainable farms along the rugged Maine coastline in the 1970’s, embedded within a moving, personal quest for truth that her experiences produced.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Intense readability…haunting power…as well as lush, vivid atmosphere that is alluring in its own right. [A] story so nuanced that it would be a disservice to reveal what was in store. If you want to know what happened, read it for yourself.”  

    New York Times

  • “Combine the sincerity of Walden with the poignancy of The Glass Castle, add dashes of the lush prose found in The Botany of Desire, and you get This Life Is in Your Hands…I was engaged and deeply moved by this evocative tale of Paradise found then lost.” 

    Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Rendered with sublimity…[Coleman] fluently describes the power of the natural world, familial love and heartbreak, grace after loss.”  

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Coleman’s moving recounting never loses hope of redemption.” 

    People

  • “A fascinating look at the roots of the organic movement as well as a cautionary tale about the limits of idealism and the importance of forgiveness.”  

    Washington Post 

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the May 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 2/6/2014

    " This was a heartbreaking and lovely book that I definitely enjoyed reading. When I first started it I was a bit thrown off by the author's writing style (writing about her parents' life prior to her birth as though she was right there with them), but once she got into the meat of the story and her own personal memories I enjoyed it a lot more. I found the strength of this book to be, sadly, the author's empathetic ability to portray her parents' fall from love. She never took sides and rarely inserted her own feelings on the matter, and such objectivity made it all the more heartfelt. Overall, this is a well written depiction of life in rural Maine in the 1970's, complete with hippies, hicks, organic agriculture facts, delightful anecdotes, and eventually the realization that this idyllic lifestyle is not always sustainable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 1/12/2014

    " Love books about the Back to the Land movement. Have read everything about the Nearings and lots about Eliot Coleman. It was an interesting perspective to read about the movement from a child's point of view. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hank Stuever | 1/6/2014

    " The writing is tone-perfect but I had an issue with the structure. Knowing about the sister right away (including jacket copy) made it less interesting from the start. Three stars for effort but also take it with a grain of salt: I didn't finish the book. I can see why many others have enjoyed it, especially the domestic details of a family that decided to go off the grid. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erika | 12/29/2013

    " This is an engaging and thought-provoking memoir of a childhood on a back-to-the-earth homestead of the 1970s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 12/9/2013

    " My interest in this memoir was its context of the 'back to the land' movement of the 70's in which I participated. Aside from that, what happened to this particular family was tragic. The memoir is very moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 11/23/2013

    " An interesting story of a family that try to live off the land and they seem to be hippies or communists to others and while they seem to succeed with trial and error things happen that tear them apart as a family. I love the fact its from the view of one of the children, the oldest girl seen from innocent eyes view of story telling. Enjoyed reading this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/19/2013

    " Like other reviewers I had a problem understanding her inclusion of conversations and events that didn't seem possible for her to have solid memories of since so many happened when she was very young. I wondered if her parents were interviewed for the book and whether it was not their biography rather than her memoir. At some points she does refer or quote from her mother's journal, so perhaps a lot of the details came from that. Also, I felt the book really dragged in certain parts where she got heavily into the history and politics of the Nearings. Alas, I didn't even finish the book, it really wasn't a compelling read for me even though I had been very interested in learning about her experiences growing up in such an environment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libby | 11/14/2013

    " I always wondered what it would be like to live a different childhood from the 'boring' one I lived. Good read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 11/10/2013

    " Really a great book. The writing is so engaging the only mistake I made was reading it as an e-book. It really deserved to be bought hard cover left in a musty basement and then read, it needs to be held and smelled while reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dru | 10/8/2013

    " I really loved this book on so many levels. Melissa Coleman shares an exceptional story and her writing is so descriptive. I hope to read more from her one day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 7/26/2013

    " Heart wrenching, fantastic ....... A + "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aldra | 3/28/2013

    " Gorgeous, heartbreaking book. Coleman is an amazing writer, able to weave in elements of magical realism into what is, essentially, a practical tale about the dissolution of a family in the midst of an important historical movement. Beautiful, beautiful book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 10/10/2012

    " Coleman writes a beautifully tragic story. Inspiring lifesytle, tragic outcomes, but not without hope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 8/9/2012

    " I don't want to ruin this book for you, so the review of This Life is in Your Hands (with spoilers) is on my blog. The book is written by Eliot Coleman's daughter about her childhood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 7/19/2012

    " Interesting look at homesteading in the 70's, especially from a child's perspective "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 7/10/2012

    " Really enjoyed this true story of a child from back-to-nature parents. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judi | 10/16/2011

    " I loved this book. It is a true story of a young couple in the 1960's who choose to live off the land and develop a successful organic garden. However this is not a feel good book. But it was hard to put down as their success came with problems. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mjkummer | 10/12/2011

    " This memoir was a good read--interesting and well-paced. The author is a child of off-beat parents who chose to live a spartan, simple life on their own tiny farm. Her experiences are both uplifting and heart-rending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meredith | 8/19/2011

    " Fascinating, and satiated my recent "off the grid" desires, but a downer overall. bookxray.blogspot.com "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elyssa | 7/21/2011

    " One of the better memoirs I have read. The author successfully brings you into the world and ideals of her parents, who wanted to be homesteaders at the beginning of the 'back to the earth' movement of the 1960s and then you follow them into their unraveling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 5/19/2011

    " Apparently I'm into memoirs, as I've been reading a bunch lately. This is a family who tries to live of the land in Maine (of all states). They are full of ideals, and are thinking organic just as the rest of America is thinking corporate farming. But it is not quite as idyllic as it appears. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/10/2011

    " This book was a bit of a downer, but I didn't mind it. You could really feel the tension building and building all the way through until the tragic climax. Very moving, although I hate that word. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 4/26/2011

    " My interest in this memoir was its context of the 'back to the land' movement of the 70's in which I participated. Aside from that, what happened to this particular family was tragic. The memoir is very moving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 4/23/2011

    " memoir about a family in the 70's who goes back to live off the land.. "

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