Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir (Audio book) written byJennifer McGaha, narrated by Pam Ward

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.

Synopsis - 

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 100-year-old cabin in a North Carolina holler. Soon enough, Jennifer's life began to more closely resemble the lives of her Appalachian ancestors than the life she experienced in her 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.

Review - 

I was surprised when I saw the wide range of reviews from five star to one. I'm not sure if it was different as a print book, but I found the audio version wonderful. There are definitely dark and emotional moments, but the further through the book you get, the more the light grows. The more joy is shared and the stories are funnier.

While this is a memoir, the book is a rambling tale that isn't always linear. It moves forward overall, but side trips down memory lane that take us away from the main story happen frequently and sometimes without warning.  So it's not your standard memoir. It's more a remembering, like when an older relative shares about their life with you over a cuppa at the kitchen table. 

It is dark as they financially lose it all by being overextended when the economy collapsed. The life they imagined was gone. The only alternative to move into a rundown cabin and live a very different life. Some of the flashbacks to earlier times in her life - such as the end of her first marriage - are disturbing. Others, such her memories of the death of her grandmother, are poignant.  We follow their efforts to rebuild both their lives and their relationship in that cabin, as well as her learning to make cheese and soap, care for goats and chickens, oversea the birth of baby goats and more. 

In the end, this is the author's tale told in the way that is most meaningful to her. I personally really enjoyed it. Kudos to the narrator who did a great job. And for any who have lost it all and feel alone, Flat Broke with Two Goats offers hope and the knowledge that a simpler life can offer huge rewards too. 

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indie Bound ~ Indigo

Meet the Author - 

A native of Appalachia, Jennifer lives in a wooded North Carolina hollow with her husband, two cats, six unruly dogs, ten relatively tame dairy goats, and an ever-changing number of hens. She currently teaches at UNC-Asheville.