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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, frank, moving and funny
I loved this memoir of Margaret's chucking-it-all adventure, moving from her major New York job to her majorly-rural upstate NY country retreat. What looks like a common fantasy soon proves to be a challenging transformation, and a period of self-examination and confronting of fears large, small, and snakey. Margaret's prose is gorgeous, and her struggle to figure out who...
Published on February 16, 2011 by P. Orloff

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80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, Disjointed and Repetitive
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...
Published on March 8, 2011 by R. Morrow


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80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, Disjointed and Repetitive, March 8, 2011
By 
R. Morrow (Amarillo, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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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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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blah, Blah, blah, April 1, 2011
By 
AutumnHarvest (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
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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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I praise the life choice, but not the writing style, March 21, 2011
I just finished reading this book. I think the author's lifestyle change is inspiring, but I did not really connect with the book. I found the writing style not captivating, and the story did not have much meat to it. If you are looking for a memoir without too much depth then this might work for you. I was bored with the snakes and rodent talk, although I see that this process was important to the author for self discovery, it was not an attention grabber for me. Cheers to her decisions to live simply. Not every book is for everyone.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Muddled intentions, August 21, 2011
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. At one point, she mentions she is on her way to visit a new friend who is a "successful screenwriter." What does that have to do with anything? She's crying over her first "local haircut", but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. She stomps when she's outside to keep snakes away. OK?

There simply is nothing to relate to in this book, nothing that grabs your emotions or touches you, because the author doesn't really let you in on anything that might have done that.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Rest for the Weary Reader, May 3, 2011
By 
Danielle McClellan (Bellingham, WA, United States) - See all my reviews
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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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying and Disappointing, June 24, 2011
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I picked up Margaret Roach's "And I Shall Have Some Peace There..." because I was looking for insight into my own desire to quit my job and find a different way of living life. Anticipating the story of a "real" woman striking out on her own, I was disappointed to find that Ms. Roach portrayed herself as whiny, privileged and difficult to relate to. Her relationships with the world around her (especially snakes) and her favorite therapist were rendered in a repetitive, tedious manner. In the year or so on which she focuses, Ms. Roach does not seem to undergo any real growth that would inspire another. As hopeful as I was when I started this book, at its conclusion I was convinced that it could have only found a publisher because of the connections she made in her position within the Martha Stewart empire.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, March 26, 2011
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This is a self-indulgent book of pure claptrap. I was looking forward to a description of the development of garden and home and a change in life style,instead it was just a bunch of psychobabble nonsense. Stick to your garden blog Margaret. I read half the book and then donated it to my local library.....someone, somewhere may like it.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, frank, moving and funny, February 16, 2011
I loved this memoir of Margaret's chucking-it-all adventure, moving from her major New York job to her majorly-rural upstate NY country retreat. What looks like a common fantasy soon proves to be a challenging transformation, and a period of self-examination and confronting of fears large, small, and snakey. Margaret's prose is gorgeous, and her struggle to figure out who she is beyond her formerly fancy email address will be relatable to anyone who's ever faced the tough question of who we are when we're not our job, our kids, our partner, etc. I liked this book so much that I started a second read immediately after finishing the first--there's that much great writing and thought-provoking content here. Highly recommend, and a great choice for a book club, imho.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sadly deficient, July 31, 2011
I am sorry to have to agree with most of the one-star reviewers here. I gobble up most new garden books and saw this book promoted heavily on Margaret's good website. As many have said before, the writing is garbled and contrived. It's far too much "stream of consciousness" writing, a lot of it is repetitive and just plain boring. I hoped this book would be more like Joan Dye Gassow book "Growing, Older" -- which is a such a gem. I rapidly read through the last few chapters, thoroughly sick of her snake phobia and other "living in the country" complaints.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, disappointing, April 23, 2011
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I was eager to read Margaret Roach's book because I have found her Gardening Blog to be an interesting and informative place to visit. I was captivated by her choice of book title and felt connected to her book's theme since I similarly left a corporate career a year ago. In other words, I wanted to love this book and tried very hard to do so however in the end whatever Margaret was trying to convey in her book was somewhat lost. I am disappointed and thought of giving the book only 2 stars but opted for 3 for purely emotional reasons. I felt like asking Margaret many times during this book, what point are you trying to make here? Her writing style is random, rambling and boring. I found my mind wandering many times as Margaret wandered around whatever point she was trying to make. Ironically, I read an interview with her yesterday (she had posted it to her website) and it was delightful. She totally nailed the questions and she was clear in her story. The book? Not so much.
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And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road
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