Micro-Review: Bootstrapper

Bootstrapper-Mardi-Jo-LinkBootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm
by Mardi Jo Link
Knopf, 2013
258 pages (hardcover)
Source: Personal library


Mardi Jo Link is more comfortable with an ax in her hand than a briefcase. So when she and her husband divorce after almost twenty years, she vows to do whatever it takes to keep her three sons and their hundred-year-old farmhouse on a small farm in Northern Michigan. And it takes a lot: together, she and the boys plant a huge garden, raise a hog, sell a horse, and dig themselves out of blizzards. Each challenge is a chance to model strong character for her boys, even as their range of reactions teach her unexpected lessons about life and single parenting. “This is how it was—and we survived it” is her writer’s motto, and she tells the story in a way that invites the reader to celebrate her daily successes, from winning a biggest-zucchini contest to peeling a dead mouse off the refrigerator coils. Funny, sarcastic, and honest, Link’s memoir demonstrates a woman’s power to provide for her family, and captures the spirit of hard work and respect for nature that defines life in farm country.

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