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Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor Hardcover – October 15, 2013


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Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor + One-Woman Farm: My Life Shared with Sheep, Pigs, Chickens, Goats, and a Fine Fiddle + Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062223704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062223708
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her candid memoir, its title taken from her popular personal website, romance author McMinn chronicles a major life change. McMinn’s nomadic childhood deprived her of all but the shallowest of roots, set in a West Virginia farm owned by her father’s family that she came to love during summer visits. Many years later, when presented with the opportunity to relocate, McMinn decided to follow her heart and head back to the hollers. With three reluctant children and a seemingly reliable lover in tow, McMinn began to build the farm of her dreams, but nothing went quite as planned. Writing with the keen attention to detail of the seasoned author she is, McMinn relates the unexpected challenges that came along. Her honesty is matched only by her desire to both take full responsibility for her failures and share the glow of her successes. The recipes and craft how-to’s provided at the end of the book open the door for all readers, experienced or green, to get a little taste of country life. --Amber Peckham

Review

“McMinn’s daily adventures are told with zest and charisma; she can fashion a riveting tale from an event as simple as a delivery of sweet potatoes.” (New York Times Book Review)

“[McMinn] found her road to self-realization much rockier than she imagined, but ultimately very satisfying…in her heart-on-her-sleeve, nutty narrative, she had to face the necessity for her own self-sufficiency…In this enjoyable memoir, she learned by trial and error how to do everything from scratch.” (Publishers Weekly)

“With three reluctant children and a seemingly reliable lover in tow, McMinn began to build the farm of her dreams, but nothing went quite as planned….Writing with the keen attentionto detail of the seasoned author she is, McMinn relates the unexpected challenges that came along.” (Booklist)

“Lively, whimsical....McMinn outlines the trials and tribulations of adjusting to new routines without her old companions to join her; this ultimately paves the way for an epiphany or two.” (Library Journal)

“A mature woman’s heartbreaking, heroic, and hilarious coming of age story. To McMinn, life is a bold adventure, but only if you live it. And, boy, does she ever!” (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Great Escape)

“Humorous and inspirational...a page-turning pep talk for anyone who’s ever wanted to quit their day job and do something different with their life. McMinn’s tale will leave you eager to leap, and build your wings on the way down, too.” (Susan McCorkindale, Author, Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl and 500 Acres and No Place to Hide, More Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl)

“A story of lessons learned…….[McMinn’s] transition into her own farmhouse and expansion into real farm living provided rich fodder for the one thing she knew she could do well: write.” (Charleston Daily Mail)

More About the Author

Former romance writer turned intrepid farm girl Suzanne McMinn writes one of the most popular personal websites in the United States, sharing her photos, recipes, crafts, and laugh-out-loud adventures. Chickens in the Road chronicles her photography, (sometimes silly, sometimes serious) stories, recipes, crafts, and sentimental thoughts on the history, people, life, and beauty of rural Appalachia, experiences and lessons learned in farming, cooking, simple living, and cute barnyard animals. Readers call her courageous, inspiring, addicting, and most of all, fun.

Available now from HarperCollins -- "Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor" ---the wild and juicy memoir of her life at Stringtown Rising Farm. (Cows, cookies, high water, and love!) Plus special sections with recipes, crafts, and photographs.

Photo Credit: Jerry Waters

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Customer Reviews

This is a must read for anyone interested in farm life.
Apache Pearl
I've been following Suzanne's blog for several years now and I'm so glad she wrote a book to put it all together ,,and the saga continues.
robin toney
Suzanne McMinn writes of her dream of chickens in the road...a farm - a place where she can farm and the chickens can run free.
wogan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Reynard VINE VOICE on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I greatly enjoyed this memoir. Partly because it reminded me some of my own life, and partly because I liked the descriptions of farm life and animal stories. And I never even knew there was a blog that it came out of, I'll definitely be checking that out.

After a divorce, McMinn packs up her kids and moves to West Virginia, right in the area that her father grew up. For the first year or so, they live in a slanted house that is rural, but not a farm. And after meeting a man she calls "52", they eventually buy a farm and forty acres out in the middle of nowhere and she starts her farm dream. She starts adding animals and discovers that there is a lot of work to running a farm. And even more when relationships aren't all you thought they would be.

McMinn is living a dream. I'm very envious of her. I've always wanted my own farm and to have animals and chickens. And I did once, but I ended up with someone much like 52 and that dream got put on hold as a result. So that's why I feel a kinship to McMinn. She's experienced the same as what I have. 52, while originally nice, started becoming emotionally and verbally abusive as soon as they bought the house. When she wrote about what he said it could have been taken right out of my life, down to the same type of words. It was a little scary actually. And it drove me nuts that she tried to overlook things that he did because love is blind sometimes. She does meet a lot of good people though. Just the townsfolk and neighbors that she has are often characters and lend a helping hand whenever needed.

I enjoyed hearing about her farm life and the animals she took care of. She has some great stories. But this book could have also been called "Escape from 52" because that was just as much of the plot.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jill Clardy on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At a crossroads in her life following a divorce, Suzanne McMinn heeded the pull of family roots and uprooted her 3 children from their suburban life to move to a farm in West Virginia. She was no stranger to this area, having spent many childhood summers there visiting family. She moved into the poorly insulated, drafty old family home, which one of her kids dubbed "Slanted Little House". The pull of this tiny community was that people were connected, to the land, to history and to one another.

She met a man, who was nicknamed "52" (his age at the time she met him), and together they bought 40 acres and built a home in the even smaller remote community of Stringtown Rising. The fact that he is never named in this memoir is a hint of things to come. Getting to the remote property required fording numerous creeks and a river on a rocky unpaved road. 52 supported her dream of building a farm on the property, though money was so tight that he kept his day job in Charleston. Suzanne, a former romance fiction writer, supported herself by maintaining a blog on which she posted her daily adventures in country living.

Suzanne had no clear idea of how to start a farm - she just knew that she wanted to own animals and learn to live more sustainably. Thus begin her adventures in animal husbandry. The first acquisition was chickens, which soon delighted her by producing all the eggs they could eat. Then came the goats and her ill-fated attempts to milk them and make goat cheese. Then came sheep, pigs, donkeys and cows. There were also a few cats and dogs, as well as various other uninvited varmints.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Apache Pearl VINE VOICE on September 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Chickens in the Road" is an incredible memoir about the author's, Suzanne McMinn, life on her first farm. It is amazing that she made such a radical change in lifestyle, not only for herself, but her children as well. I am moved by her honesty about her feeling for her significant other. Basically he made it possible in the beginning for her to make the move from city life to farm life. I laughed, cried, and hurt for her in many of the instances. I loved her descriptions of the first farmhouse that she lived in, "The Slanted Little House". She and 52, as she calls her significant other, built their home on forty acres that they named Stringtown Rising Farm. There are many memorable people and animals that she met along the way. Georgia, an older lady, greatly inspired her and taught her many of the skills for preserving food. Her animals were numerous; from goats, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, and of course chickens. You will laugh at some of the stories of her encounters with the animals. I certainly give her credit for perseverance. She learned an incredible amount about being self-sufficient. She made her own soap, candles, bread, butter, butter milk, biscuits, jams and lard. She even gives recipes in the rear of the book. She had started a blog and still has one if you would like to check it out, aptly named Chickens in the Road. This is a must read for anyone interested in farm life.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on October 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a sucker for books about people who have made huge changes in their lives and particularly those who have left the relative comforts of city/suburban life for a move back to something more basic. It's probably because I never have any interest in doing that and find those that do fascinating. I wish McMinn did a better job of getting to the emotional core of her move instead of providing a lighthearted look at farm life through the eyes of an amateur. McMinn's book reads like an expanded version of a blog with lists and little commentaries about the animals of the farm while spending nowhere the same amount of time on her three children that she brought into this new existence. She does spend a great deal of time discussing the gradual decay of her relationship with the man who joined her in the venture, but even this is held at arm's length for fear of showing any real emotion. It's when she talking about her love for her cows or the truth about farm life's preoccupation with the actual life cycle where animals are both filled with personality and then often become food. McMinn shows she's capable of digging a bit deeper into this emotional component of farm life than she was into her own motivations and personal struggles. So instead of a compelling read, it's a cute story of an amateur living on a farm and trying to make it work. It's cute and forgettable.
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