Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor

Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor

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by Suzanne McMinn
     
 

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Suzanne McMinn, a former romance writer and founder of the popular blog chickensintheroad.com, shares the story of her search to lead a life of ordinary splendor in Chickens in the Road, her inspiring and funny memoir.

Craving a life that would connect her to the earth and her family roots, McMinn packed up her three kids, left her husband and

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Overview

Suzanne McMinn, a former romance writer and founder of the popular blog chickensintheroad.com, shares the story of her search to lead a life of ordinary splendor in Chickens in the Road, her inspiring and funny memoir.

Craving a life that would connect her to the earth and her family roots, McMinn packed up her three kids, left her husband and her sterile suburban existence behind, and moved to rural West Virginia. Amid the rough landscape and beauty of this rural mountain country, she pursues a natural lifestyle filled with chickens, goats, sheep—and no pizza delivery.

With her new life comes an unexpected new love—"52," a man as beguiling and enigmatic as his nickname—a turbulent romance that reminds her that peace and fulfillment can be found in the wake of heartbreak. Coping with formidable challenges, including raising a trio of teenagers, milking stubborn cows, being snowed in with no heat, and making her own butter, McMinn realizes that she’s living a forty-something’s coming-of-age story.

As she dares to become self-reliant and embrace her independence, she reminds us that life is a bold adventure—if we’re willing to live it. 

Chickens in the Road includes more than 20 recipes, craft projects, and McMinn’s photography, and features a special two-color design.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Leigh Newman
McMinn's daily adventures are told with zest and charisma; she can fashion a riveting tale from an event as simple as a delivery of sweet potatoes.
Publishers Weekly
A romance writer propelled by divorce to change her bearings radically found her road to self-realization much rockier than she imagined, but ultimately very satisfying. With relatives in rural Roane County, W.Va., where her father grew up, McMinn hit on the harebrained scheme to haul her three teenagers, aged 10, 13, and 15, to live in Walton in order to be exposed to the virtues of having no paved road, no Internet access, no public water source, and no school bus, among other no-frills. After settling in at her family’s house for two years, McMinn met a suitable man, called “52,” who was an amenable handyman and also seemed to want to take care of her; some time after, the two purchased a farm and built on it a house, Stringtown Rising. Except 52 had emotional problems, and despite the author’s back-breaking labor to take on animals like chickens, goats, cows, and pigs, and her writing a glowing blog about it all, she grew increasingly vulnerable to 52’s sniping. Although she had put her all into the Stringtown farm, as she delineates in her heart-on-her-sleeve, nutty narrative, she had to face the necessity for her own self-sufficiency, and found another farm close by that she could call her own and that even had amenities like a barn and electricity. As McMinn demonstrates in this enjoyable memoir, she learned by trial and error how to do everything from scratch, and offers Jelly”) and DIY (“How to Make Laundry Soap”) at the back. (Oct.)
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
“A mature woman’s heartbreaking, heroic, and hilarious coming of age story. To McMinn, life is a bold adventure, but only if you live it. And, boy, does she ever!”
Susan McCorkindale
“Humorous and inspirational...a page-turning pep talk for anyone who’s ever wanted to quit their day job and do something different with their life. McMinn’s tale will leave you eager to leap, and build your wings on the way down, too.”
New York Times Book Review
“McMinn’s daily adventures are told with zest and charisma; she can fashion a riveting tale from an event as simple as a delivery of sweet potatoes.”
Booklist
“With three reluctant children and a seemingly reliable lover in tow, McMinn began to build the farm of her dreams, but nothing went quite as planned….Writing with the keen attentionto detail of the seasoned author she is, McMinn relates the unexpected challenges that came along.”
Charleston Daily Mail
“A story of lessons learned…….[McMinn’s] transition into her own farmhouse and expansion into real farm living provided rich fodder for the one thing she knew she could do well: write.”
Library Journal
09/01/2013
Best known for her blog of the same name as well as a handful of romance novels (High-Stakes Homecoming), McMinn here provides a lively, whimsical account of her adventures in West Virginia farm living. Things don't always go smoothly for her family of suburban transplants, but there are plenty of engaging characters (including some without fur or feathers) to meet along the way. The menagerie of animal friends on their 40-acre farm includes chickens, goats, cows, horses, ducks, and sheep. Fans of McMinn's long-running blog will be glad to see that her memoir includes a selection of old-fashioned recipes as well as down-home craft projects (e.g., chocolate cream facial mask and apple spice simmering potpourri). The work has poignant moments, too, as McMinn outlines the trials and tribulations of adjusting to new routines without her old companions to join her; this ultimately paves the way for an epiphany or two. VERDICT A memoir of a suburban mother's move to the country, this book is perfect for fans of McMinn's blog.—Dan McClure, Pacific Northwest Coll. of Art Lib., Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Romance writer McMinn's story of how she moved her family to a slanted little house in backwoods West Virginia following her divorce. There, she connected with her father's family's 200-year history in Appalachia, and they provided stability and a resource of rural knowledge for the author. Plucked from the suburbs, McMinn wanted to live where she "could find chickens in the road." She created a blog (chickensintheroad.com) featuring step-by-step instructions for recipes, country living and crafts, all documented with stunning photography. McMinn fell in love with a local man, whom she dubs "52," his age when they met, and together, they bought a 40-acre farm with the idea of living off the land. In hindsight, she realizes the farm was "one of the most inhospitable, inaccessible, and unmanageable pieces of land on the planet." And yet, "I loved that cold, muddy, hard life." The farm presents countless challenges for the author, including creeks running under her unbridged road, slow-driving neighbors, and the farm's icy, steep driveway. Winter also means power outages, cramped quarters and cold morning chores. McMinn balances tending goats, cows, sheep and chickens with raising her three children and dealing with an increasingly sullen partner. The book follows the arc of her romance with 52, from fluttery first kiss to the stage where McMinn knows she needs to leave him but can't run the farm on her own. Meanwhile, readers learn how to make soap, test a cow for pregnancy and create tasty goat cheese. The book concludes with recipes for rural delicacies such as stuffed squash blossoms and summer vegetable pie and a section for making natural crafts and health products. The book provides back story for McMinn's blog, allowing a deeper, humorous look into the rewards and challenges of her rural life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062223722
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/08/2013
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
221,620
File size:
24 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Suzanne McMinn former romance writer turned intrepid farm girl, is the creator of the incredibly popular personal website www.chickensintheroad.com. A professional writer, teacher, and photographer, she is the author of twenty-six published novels and writes a bimonthly column for the Charleston Daily Mail. She lives in West Virginia.

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