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321 Reviews
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155 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dirty Life is a compelling, unsentimental read
Although I am generally no fan of the memoir, I was deeply moved by The Dirty Life. Author Kristin Kimball first dissects her decision to give up a freelance writing career and a rent-controlled NYC apartment to start a sustainable agricultural venture with her then-fiance in upstate New York. She then smartly breaks the rest of the book up by season, going into just...
Published on October 14, 2010 by yeqotz

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but dig deeper in the dirt, Kristin!
I have longed for, and not found, many modern biographical books out there about women who farm. I was excited to find this memoir, and enjoyed it, but despite the talented writing, I felt a lack of connection to the author and the people she includes in her story.

I wanted to love this book, but found myself disappointed by the lack of deeper characterizations...
Published 21 months ago by C. Frederick


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars completely engaging, November 14, 2010
By 
Ella (Raleigh, NC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
I learned so much about love, relationships and commitment. In a world where it seems everyone is trying to make themselves look better than the rest, I appreciate Kimball's honesty about the ups and downs and ultimate rewards of an authentically lived life. I am astounded by the life of a farmer! I will never look at organic foods the same way. So many layers to this beautifully written book. I look forward to more books by this talented writer!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and funny....treat yourself., November 3, 2010
This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
Truly a love story, in all the best ways. The title says it all-- farming, food and love-- and even if you aren't into farming, this is an honest and witty memoir about what it's like to live one's life authentically- raw and honest. I loved it. Anyone who supports the local food movement or lives in a small community will love it all the more.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful memoir of a challenging year in the life of a farmer, October 19, 2010
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
I greatly enjoyed this book. Kristin Kimball and her husband have my deepest admiration. The life they've chosen can be tough, but their convictions, their love for the land and each other, come through loud and clear. Loved the writing. Hoping she writes another one in a few years to show how much they've progressed and how they've inspired others.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIKE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, October 31, 2010
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
I loved this book so much! It was about farming though not too much, it was about falling and staying in love, though not too much, it was about hard work and ingenuity and insights, it was about a journey that consisted of all the above. It's about life and how it's lived. I can't wait for her next book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, funny, and wise story delivered in luminous prose., November 27, 2010
This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
The only bad thing about this book was that it was so hard to put down. Kimball's voice moves gracefully from witty and blunt to poetic as she describes her adventures, discoveries, humiliations and accomplishments as a New York City writer transforming herself to organic farmer. Part love story, part coming-of-age story, part meditation on glorious food and its dirty origins, this book is many things but never boring. I've already started using parts of it with my eleventh and twelfth grade AP English students, who share my rave review.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - a MUST read!, November 2, 2010
This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
My mother loved this book so much she asked me to post her review. 10/25/10 4pm: I just finished the Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball and loved every word in the 276 pages. I laughed out loud, was quietly amused and actually cried while identifying throughout with Kristin's Mom and Dad. Like Bill Mckibben says author of Eaarth- "This is a wonderful tale!" It's warm and comforting and truely enjoyable!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and deeply moving, October 31, 2010
This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
The Dirty Life is an engrossing and finely crafted look into the world of family farming. In an era when "farm" increasingly indicates gigantic agribusiness concern, this book shows what it's like for the small local farm. Spanning both the gritty details of the daily grind as well as larger reflections on the rural pastoral life, Kimball shows she has an eye for details great and small. I can't help but feel that this book could spur a new movement of local farmers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, March 14, 2011
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
I was not (am not, really) wild about the title of this book. I heard the author on NPR and that was just okay. But I really wanted to read about first generation farmers, and that desire overrode any misgivings.

Well, this book exceeded any expectation I had. Within the first few pages, it becomes clear that this is not an ordinary memoir, that this is a memoir by a professional writer who just happened to stumble into some interesting subject matter. Her ability to sketch people, so clearly that suddenly you KNOW them, and to do it in just a few sentences is amazing- in this capacity, Kimball is on par with great fiction writers (Faulkner, Austen, Twain).

This is not a flowery book, but it is beautiful. In this way, it reminds me of the Little House books- unsentimental prose that is nonetheless compelling, breathtaking.

There is a lot in this book, not just the complete upending of the author's life, not just the work, luck, and skill that went into Essex Farm, not just the stories of how farms fail and how farming must be remade. At the heart of this book, there is the story of a marriage. It was told in a quiet way, as if to take a backseat to everything else crammed into the story, but it is deeply intimate. Her love for her husband, both in spite of and because of his eccentricities, is visible in every line, but when she tells of her misgivings and fears of committing to him, it makes this story so full that it isn't just a memoir anymore, it becomes literature.

The last line of this book is the best ending note that I have ever read in nonfiction.

After the joy of "The Dirty Life", I am certain to a second book by Kristin Kimball, if the public is lucky enough to get another one.

I read this book aloud to my husband, and at the end of it, he said he wanted to reread it every year of his life, so I know it's not just me. It's just that good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book...!, November 1, 2010
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
Kimball is a deeply gifted writer and this memoir is one of the finest I've ever read. This is is not really a book about farming, although you will learn a lot about this endlessly difficult life. This is more a book about searching for where you belong...and finding it with in unexpected places and unexpected people. THE DIRTY LIFE is a total pleasure to read. I've already bought a half-dozen copies and given them to friends.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical and transformational, October 15, 2010
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This review is from: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (Hardcover)
A beautiful story, so elegantly written which captivates the reader and reminds us all of the powers that we all possess to follow our heart
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The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball (Hardcover - October 12, 2010)
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