Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir by Jennifer McGaha – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha

Book Blurb:

When life gets your goat, bring in the herd

Jennifer McGaha never expected to own a goat named Merle. Or to be setting Merle up on dates and naming his doeling Merlene. She didn’t expect to be buying organic yogurt for her chickens. She never thought she would be pulling camouflage carpet off her ceiling or rescuing opossums from her barn and calling it “date night.” Most importantly, Jennifer never thought she would only have $4.57 in her bank account.

When Jennifer discovered that she and her husband owed back taxes—a lot of back taxes—her world changed. Now desperate to save money, they foreclosed on their beloved suburban home and moved their family to a one-hundred-year-old cabin in a North Carolina holler. Soon enough, Jennifer’s life began to more closely resemble her Appalachian ancestors than her upper-middle-class upbringing. But what started as a last-ditch effort to settle debts became a journey that revealed both the joys and challenges of living close to the land.

Told with bold wit, unflinching honesty, and a firm foot in the traditions of Appalachia, Flat Broke with Two Goats blends stories of homesteading with the journey of two people rediscovering the true meaning of home. 

My Review:

OMG, so many reviewers disliked this memoir! And I must admit I had to agree with most of the arguments presented. I can’t even imagine not knowing you haven’t filed with the IRS in years. Robbing Peter to pay Paul until Peter drops a foreclosure on you.

From living well above your means and having your children in private schools to eating gourmet and drinking expensive craft beers. You can’t tell me there wasn’t a hint.

Well educated, this couple made every stupid financial decision you could make. And he was an accountant? Thinking he was handling the finances, she works part-time and plays homemaker, rearing the children, and caring for multiple animals.

Sounds nice—few women get to do that (or even want to) anymore. She tends to blame him for all their financial woes—but how did she miss all the dun letters or calls? Creditors can drive you crazy.

When they make the decision to let foreclosure happen as well as default on the second with their close friends, they flee to the Appalachians to live in an abandoned cabin in a North Carolina holler.

I’ve lived in tar paper shacks—they can be populated (depending on where you live) by spiders (especially black widows), snakes, and every manner of bug or mammal that can find a hole from the size of a pin to a dime. And their old cabin is no better. It takes a while, doing what little they can with what they saved by not paying their last several mortgage payments. UGH! I see a lot of beans in their future.

Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGahaGradually, however, she begins to think about chickens. She could raise them, gather and/or sell eggs. Then goats. GOATS! Not an animal I would have considered—remembering how well they perform head butts. And BTW, chickens do have personalities.

Here is what I don’t understand, however; where did they get the money to be buying chickens and build their coop, much less the appropriate provisions and feed for goats? For that matter, chicken feed isn’t cheap and chickens can waste almost as much as they eat. Descriptions of breeding the goats were penned in detail and don’t get me started on the vet bills.

You have to say that listening to this audiobook is like listening to an impending train wreck. They learn the hard way, not having had experience with animals other than canines, and make some big mistakes along the way. There are regrets, embarrassment, shame, loss, recriminations, and a lot of soul-searching. Plus, you gotta love the title.

Sometimes the decisions become outrageous. It’s easy to castigate others’ actions, particularly when so many people have experienced extreme financial conditions and similar hardships and found a way to work through them honorably. Still, the narration is excellent and the author’s wit and sense of humor shine through. As maddening as it can be, it’s also engaging, entertaining, at times enlightening. For one thing, I’ll never try to breed a goat.

The conclusion comes rather abruptly; guess there was nowhere else to go, but pretty much sums up the journey to living happily off the land.

I received a complimentary review copy of this audiobook from my local lovely library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Agricultural & Food Sciences, Biographies of Women, Agricultural Science
Publisher: Tantor Audio
ASIN: B078WZVJSF
Listening Length: 9 hrs 19 mins
Narrator: Pam Ward
Publication Date: January  23, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Flat Broke with Two Goats [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four stars 4 stars

Jennifer McGaha- authorThe Author: A native of Appalachia, Jennifer McGaha lives with her husband, five dogs, twenty-three chickens, and one high-maintenance cat in a tin-roofed cabin bordering the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. Her creative nonfiction work has appeared in Brooklyner, Toad Suck Review, Switchback, Still, Portland Review, Little Patuxent Review, Lumina, Literary Mama, Mason’s Road, Now and Then, and others. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, mountain biking, sampling local beers, and playing with dogs.

©2022 V Williams – V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – An #Audiobook Review

GRAMMY NOMINEEAudie Award, Humor, 2015

Book Blurb:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you’re invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents – Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. 

Also included? A one-night-only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. 

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz”, the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs” – Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by. 

 My Review:

 I guess I can’t think about Amy Poehler without also including Tina Fey, and of course, Tina also wrote a memoir that I am currently listening to and will review next week. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I downloaded this audiobook from my local library. Amy’s book is biting, full of essays, name-dropping, and repeated comments regarding how difficult it is to write a book. That becomes imminently obvious, as she struggled mightily with it.

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerAnd I’m sorry (or maybe not), but I didn’t find it particularly funny. Okay, a comedienne, but this is not a book about comedy. I’m not wholly sure it can be called a memoir either as it skips over parts many people would be interested in, saying, “I also don’t like people knowing my s**t.” Then yah got me stumped. So, then, what is it? Perhaps more of an appreciation card–a thank you to all who helped get her there?

Of course, I’m most interested in her years on SNL–thinking back to some of the hey-dey years of SNL–when they were a little more topical and a little less fart jokes. I never really got into Parks and Recreation, and her description of it sounds like it didn’t garner a lot of awards.

She does mention realizing at an early age that this was what she wanted to do and focused on moving toward that goal, getting into the improv groups, dodging rats in New York and drugs and booze in Chicago, though she expands in further detail drug usage in a later chapter.

Motherhood, definitely waxes poetic, having started her family in her thirties after having enormous amounts of fun playing the single scene and the improv scene through her twenties. In fact, she was pregnant in segments on SNL. I did enjoy some of the anecdotes from her time there, particularly with Tina Fey, but also as she goes into depth about her friendship with Seth Meyers.

In fact, she spends quite a bit of time expounding on various of the characters with whom she played for years. The problem I had was in the lack of cohesiveness. (It was all over the place.) The book doesn’t appear to have been laid out in any one direction. She’ll bounce from kindergarten to SNL and back again to kindergarten and her parents. In fact, they have a segment.

Alternately profane and compassionate, she climbs more than one soapbox to express her concerns for people, how to attain satisfaction in your own life. She teaches kindness. Reads letters that she felt were pivotal points in her treatment of people. Still, she remains closed off, impenetrable. All I really know at this point is that she worked hard at her craft and paid her dues and I think that’s the story of any who finally made it to the top.

I received this audiobook from my local well-stocked library audiobook section and appreciated the opportunity to give a listen. Next week–Tina Fey’s memoir, biography, Bossy Pants. Stay tuned.

 Book Details:

Genre: Biographies of Women, Humor Essays, Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Publisher: Harper Audio
ASIN: B00MP22QRQ
Print Length:
Listening Length: 7 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Amazon Audible   |   Amazon Paperback   |   Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Amy Poehler - author, actress, comedienneThe Author: [from Goodreads]] Amy Meredith Poehler is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, producer and writer. Raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improv at The Second City and ImprovOlympic. In 1996, she moved to New York City after becoming part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, which later developed into an eponymous television show that aired on Comedy Central for three seasons. Poehler was also one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 1999.

Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Update sketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler’s work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is known for voicing Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–2011 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Eleanor Miller in the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI films. Since 2009, she has starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, and received the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series. She is also an eight-time Emmy Award nominee.

Poehler is currently starring in the new Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden along with her brother Greg Poehler.

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