Friday, June 7, 2013

Bootstrapper: A Memoir - Mardi Jo Link

Subtitled: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm.

Bootstrapper: to promote or develop by initiative and effort with little or no assistance --- Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Mardi Jo Link is living the life she always dreamed of - three amazing young sons and the opportunity to raise them in the countryside in a beautiful old farmhouse sitting on six acres. And yes, there was a husband too - but with divorce now a certainty, Mardi Jo is determined to hang onto her sons, her house and her land - by herself. 

"I'm claiming my sons, the farm, the debt, the other debt, the horses, the dogs, and the land. I'm claiming our century-old farmhouse, the garden, the woods, the pasture, the barn, and the Quonset-hut garage. They're all mine now, and this is how I will raise my boys: on cheerful summer days and well water and BB guns and horseback riding and dirt. Because I'm claiming our whole country life, the one I've been dreaming of and planning out and working for since I was a little girl."

And this is where the bootstrapping comes into play -for Link is working with next to nothing in the way of finances. And wants to do it on her own - "I made this bed and I'll either lie in it or die in it, but I won't ask anyone for help."

Mardi Jo details the physical ups and downs - the day to day business of providing, but Bootstrapper also reads like a personal diary with Link's hopes, dreams, triumphs, losses and more laid bare. But what shone through the brightest was the love for her sons. These are the passages that stayed with me the longest. There are struggles, but the love and support they feel for each other is tangible. And quite humorous at times.

""Boys," I announced, "we're going to raise some chickens."
"Another pet to play with!" said Will, the idealist.
"Another kind of poop to clean up, said Luke, the worker.
"Another animal in bondage," said Owen, the activist."

I couldn't put Bootstrapper down - I was cheering Mardi Jo on with every chapter. And I empathized - we too bought an old farmhouse and there were some mighty lean years in the beginning - and there were two of us. I loved the descriptions of her garden - I too have grown our own vegetables for many, many years. Seed catalogues are exciting.

And at the end of the year is there a happy ever after ending? I'll let you discover that for yourself.

Bootstrapper is a one sitting read, one I enjoyed for its honesty. These are the memoirs I like to read - real people, real life. And she sounds like the kind of person I'd like to visit with on the porch. You can find Mardi Jo Link on Facebook.


bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs like this!

Luanne said...

Kathy - It's a good quick one sitting read!