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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road Hardcover – Unabridged, February 23, 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roach is best known for her popular and critically acclaimed gardening blog, A Way to Garden. In this personal memoir, she describes her transformation as she sheds her corporate carapace as editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and begins life in a small upstate New York town. She expects to find peace and solitude there, a place to discern a new identity, independent of her professional success. Instead, she finds herself untethered and unexpectedly fearful of snakes, snow storms, and silence. A circuitous spiritual journey follows as Roach consults with an assortment of shamans and matchmakers and the occasional exterminator. She eventually finds some ballast in the deeper rhythms of country life and the reliable kindness of neighbors. Roach™s gardening writing on her blog and in her previous book (A Way to Garden) is clear, thorough, and thoughtful. Readers may appreciate her candid, stream-of-consciousness style in this memoir, but it is too unstructured and inchoate to be as satisfying as her other work. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Perhaps it’s the twenty-first century’s most existential question: who am I if not my e-mail address? After leaving her coveted position as editorial director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Roach deleted the @ and dot-com from the end of her name and suddenly found herself adrift in both the cyber world of instant access and the concrete world of dwindling bank accounts. More rudderless than any 50-year-old woman with a solid-gold reputation (and AmEx card) should be, Roach retreated to her weekend getaway home in upstate New York and turned it into her primary residence and place of business. She was now Margaret Roach, Inc., but what would she produce? A keen observer of the avian and amphibian life sheltered by her country property, city-girl Roach took comfort in their rituals and habits, adopting what she could for her own unsettled existence. As she moves through the seasons of her first year in self-imposed exile, Roach limns a reflective odyssey for affirmation and acceptance that blends Zen-like wisdom with zany escapades. --Carol Haggas

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446556092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446556095
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I garden because I cannot help myself, and THE BACKYARD PARABLES (January 2013) shares what I've learned about horticulture, and life, in the process of digging ever deeper. In December 2007, I walked away from New York City and my job as EVP/Editorial Director of Martha Stewart, because I craved other rewards: solitude, a return to the creativity of writing, and a closer connection to nature and my first passion, the garden I'd been making on weekends for 20 years. I moved to a rural New York town of 300, began AWayToGarden.com (called "the best garden blog" by the New York Times and named for my prize-winning 1998 book), and wrote the dropout memoir AND I SHALL HAVE SOME PEACE THERE. I'm the former garden editor of Newsday newspaper, and was an editor at the New York Times. Today I lecture, teach and blog about what I call "horticultural how-to and woo-woo." (Erica Berger photo.)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Admittedly, I stole my review title from "Eden" because she nailed it in her review. Unlike many reviewers, I've not read Roach's other book and know nothing about gardening. I do however have a naturally inclination to read every book I can get my hands on that claims to have anything to do with living simply and restoring a measure of peace and quiet to our lives (everything her title would seem to suggest). Now however, with book in hand, I wish only to gain back a little of the peace I had before opening it.

How disappointing! Each paragraph pulled me deeper and deeper into nothing but a downward spiral of wordy-mush and confusion.

I dare you to open the book at random and try reading it aloud. Turn to page 40, for example, where you'll find: "And so from the glimpse on my birthday in June to the 9/11 morning in the driveway and into the wooden box out back, and then, before long, into a whole cottage of his own (a heated shed behind my house that became Jack's, cat door and all), before winter wrapped itself around us that year, my days with Jack began." Seriously?

Or flip over just a little to page 45 (try it aloud, again): "No, you don't end up in China as Mommy said all those years ago would happen if you dug and dug and dug from this side of the Earth. You end up right here, right now -- and speaking not Chinese at all, but passable botanical Latin, punctuated with some key Buddhist phrases for good measure, or maybe my own made-up outdoor language in which some Hindi and a lot of Hello, baby, Mommy loves you, all fuse into a delightful gibberish -- or at least it delights me, and the creatures -- the frogs and birds and plants and cat -- do not in any obvious manner object."

All I can say is, if this writing style appeals to you then this is your book. But, if not? Stay far, far away.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book. I like stories about people who make a career change, either by choice or by chance, and find peace, both inner and outer, by moving to the country and discovering the bliss of a Slow Life. This book wasn't it! This book is a jumble of mixed messages and bad writing. Did she like her new life? Was she really at peace with it? I couldn't tell even to the last page!

I agree with the other reviewers who have said the writing is all over the place! I began to wondering if this author drank a lot of cups of strong coffee before she sat down to write! It just went all over the place and it was increasingly difficult to find any point she was trying to make.

I never did get a sense that she found any peace in the country! She seemed spoiled by the "Stuff" in her big city life, and ill suited for country life. But that might just be because she never conveyed it to the page or the reader (at least not to THIS reader) in an clear or understandable way.

All in all, I would say do not waste your money. I am sad to feel that way, but this book really was a terrible disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
I had high expectations from this book. It seemed like something I would love, kind of like an "Eat Pray Love" Upstate New York. The book is marketed very well, but unfortunately doesn't live up to its branding. It really does feel like this was created because the author received a book deal based on her interesting life change, and she accepted because why wouldn't you (after all, it's a perfect source of income when you have no job and all the time in the world to write). However, she didn't really want to pour her heart out at all. The result is a muddled mess.

First off, the writing style is exhausting. If this has been edited, one wonders how it looked before the editing. One gets the feeling Ms. Roach is trying to impress the editors at The New Yorker, or maybe she's thinking about that review in the New York Times Book Review. The sentences run on forever, and are sprinkled with quotes from the literary and philosophical world, where it's really not called for. It's just too much. She also gives nature writing a shot, writing about species and their behaviors. It's a confusing mix of intentions.

She clearly doesn't want to burn any bridges with the glossy women's publishing world of Manhattan, so she never says anything overtly negative or revealing about her former big job with Martha Stewart or the publishing industry in general (being an executive was stressful, is what we get). She also doesn't want to write too much about very personal things (childhood, relationships etc), so she glosses over them very superficially. Hence, we never really understand the source of her somewhat neurotic and tightly wound personality.

It doesn't seem as if she has left the mindset of her former trappings behind quite yet.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a book that I splurged on (in hardback) and that I expected to love because the author has a terrific gardening blog that I enjoy and a promising back story of her escape from NYC and corporate America (she was a bigwig at Martha Stewart) to her garden sanctuary in the country. I had hoped for some gardening essays, some thoughtful but practical commentary on her experience...anything but what actually ended up on the page, which was chapter after chapter of rambling, free-form self doubt and the recurring question of who she is now that she is not a Martha Stewart exec. Far, far too much information about her quest for inner peace (think expensive spas and pricey spiritual advisers) and her quest for a mate (think expensive and exclusive dating service). This clearly talented writer and thoughtful woman has standards so high (perhaps honed by the perfectionism of the Martha Stewart brand) that she cannot possibly live up to her own ideals and spends most of the book holed up in her house wearing sweats and refusing to answer the phone (or was that just my impression?). My own sense is that the author needed more time to decompress and allow her life to settle before turning to the book contract. This book might have been a far more interesting one if it had been written a bit later in the journey once Roach had come to terms with the blessings that her new life affords her.
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