A Farm Dies Once a Year: A Memoir

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Sort order. May 11, Sally rated it did not like it. I began this book eager to read of Arlo's experience growing up on New Morning Farm. My college boyfriend looked into working there 24 years ago. New Morning was fully staffed, and we were referred to Blue Moon Farm, where we lived and worked for nine months. We witnessed the murder that figures so prominently in this narrative. The author has attempted to dramatize a scene that he did not witness and played no part in. I remember him visiting the farm as an year-old boy only twice that seaso I began this book eager to read of Arlo's experience growing up on New Morning Farm.

I remember him visiting the farm as an year-old boy only twice that season: once for the funeral and once when his father came to help supervise planting. He may have viewed the court records, but he clearly did not take notes. The conversation that took place earlier that day was not between Robb and Diana, it was between Robb and me.

Robb did not yell or throw the book of game laws at me. There were no people in the fields to hear--it was too early in the season for there to be anyone there but the three of us. He did not use the words listed in quotation marks. He did not repeat his points over and over again. That happened later in the day, before he pulled the trigger of his shotgun. When Robb returned, it was not shady. The birds were still calling to each other. Chloe was nowhere near the scene--she was half a mile away inside the house with her grandparents. Bert did not kneel down to plant one last plant.

He raised his arms and turned away from the gun. Even more stunning, is the inaccuracy of his parents' locations at Bert's time of death. His father was not in his office; he was in the emergency waiting room with Bob and Lina and her father. His mother came to the farm to check on Lina's mother and Chloe.

There are many other inaccuracies that might have been corrected had the author bothered to contact either of us, but it's not that the facts are wrong that bothers me. The fact that he is capitalizing on a tragedy, using it to somehow beef up his own narrative, is problematic at best. Even without such a personal connection to this material, I would question the genuineness of someone who characterizes himself as being ineligible to apply to Harvard due to "middling" grades and test scores, only to reveal later that he attended Cornell.

He is too eager to make himself likeable, and this comes across as condescending. In order to revisit scenes from one's life, one must first have been there. Crawford is a talented wordsmith, and he writes beautiful sentences. Perhaps he should try his hand at fiction, for that is what this is. View all 3 comments. May 11, Robert Weinswig rated it did not like it.

I was looking forward to this book coming out, and I really wanted to like it, which is why I didn't put it down with the first few inaccuracies that I came across. Having been to New Morning Farm and having a great appreciation for it's owners, I couldn't wait to learn more about them and revisit that beautiful place through the eyes of their son.

Unfortunately this book is only half about the farm and them, and rather vague at best. Curiously the author fills the rest of the book by exploiting I was looking forward to this book coming out, and I really wanted to like it, which is why I didn't put it down with the first few inaccuracies that I came across. Curiously the author fills the rest of the book by exploiting a tragedy that happened almost twenty-five years ago that he did not witness in his memoir.

Perhaps the most painful aspect of this book is not only did the author not witness this event, he didn't even speak to the people that did, yet callously and inaccurately writes about them, using their names. The author attempts to intertwine the story of the tragedy throughout his book, that happened at another farm when he was a kid, interjecting things attempting to romanticize. Why he would do this without ever speaking to the witnesses yet using their names and invented conversations, and then calling it a memoir is disturbing at best.

It seemed like he was trying to paint a picture of himself to impress his contemporaries that he had grown up in a crazy environment. The one person he sought out from the tragic event was also not a witness, but was seemingly used as a prop for this book, so it could make it look like he had an emotional connection.


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I tried contacting the author to express my dismay that he would use people's names and not contact them beforehand, and then get tons of information wrong. The author referred to himself as a memoirist, not a journalist which somehow excuses him from using facts while describing events and attributing fake conversations that he nor anyone else that he knows was witness to, yet somehow he included in his memoir. For a page "memoir," there should not be so much fiction that anyone that knows these stories he is writing about, would have to actually throw this book across the room in disgust.

I would recommend that if you are given this book as a gift, that you should cut a square out of the middle pages, and use it as a secret compartment to store some marbles. Then years later someone might open the book and find those marbles, and it will give them something to be amazed by, otherwise it would just be a crappy book. View 1 comment. Dec 17, Jessica rated it it was ok Shelves: good-reads-first-reads. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I wanted to like this book, I really did, but overall I was disappointed. I was hoping to read a book about farming- the ups and the downs, the daily tasks, the characteristics of vegetables, etc I found myself thinkin I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I found myself thinking that I wish one of the apprentices were writing the book instead The book spends a considerable amount of time discussing the family friend Bert and his untimely death.

Though I'm sorry for everyone's loss, I just didn't feel that it was all that interesting to read about. I kept feeling that if the book were actually written as two books- the farm, and Bert- maybe it would flow and read better, and more time could be dedicated to each subject. I guess I thought I would be reading a book about a 30 year old son, who comes home to help work his parents farm, who meets the others on the farm, and forms relationships, whose out in the field from sunup to sundown with everyone else, and who learns something in the process.

Unfortunately, that's not how the book reads. Instead, this book left me thinking that I'm not sure what the overall point of this memoir was- what did the author want me to gain? Maybe there is no point I felt that he was a bit smug and was quick to paint himself in good light. I know this always contributes to a more difficult read. May 06, Cheryl rated it it was ok. I wanted to read this book because while I have never lived on a farm, I have raised chickens and have friends that do have farms and have helped out on them. So I wanted to read this book about farming.

Which is what I was under the impression that I was going to get. Yes, I did get some of that when Mr. Crawford returned to his family farm and helped work on it. But I craved more What I mean by this is that yes the author did talk about what he I wanted to read this book because while I have never lived on a farm, I have raised chickens and have friends that do have farms and have helped out on them. What I mean by this is that yes the author did talk about what he had to do on his family's farm but not in lots of details.

Not to discredit the author's story about his life and family as not being interesting but I just was looking forward to the farm life than I was really about the childhood or the different jobs and returns that the author took. Plus, this was at times a slow read for me.

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So you could say that the title of the book was a little deceiving to me. May 07, Brigid rated it it was ok Shelves: memoirs , farming , food. An egocentric look at a 30 something person's life and desires, and past growing up on an organic farm. A compelling idea for a story, and yet, very little that held my interest. This felt more like reading the author's rambling journals, and less of the drama that makes a memoir an interesting story. I would have liked to hear less about the death of the neighbor farmer, and more about the inner workings of the farm that were just hinted at throughout the book.

Dec 31, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: giveaways-winner , memoirs , foodie-lit , skimmed. The ideal was consistency and quality. You might also like to read it in conjunction with a novel like Some Luck by Jane Smiley. I found it pleasant enough, if less than thrilling. I was delighted to win a copy in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Apr 16, Nicholas rated it it was amazing.

50 Essential Memoirs - Barnes & Noble Reads — Barnes & Noble Reads

I particularly liked three things about this memoir of a young-thirties guy who leaves a life in Boston to go back to his parents' organic farm in Pennsylvania for the harvest season: It's partially about figuring out what to do with your life. The author's parents made one decision -- start an organic farm -- when they were young, and he's trying to come to some sort of conclusion about his own life, to find some direction. The answers aren't easy or necessarily clear-cut, but in contemplating w I particularly liked three things about this memoir of a young-thirties guy who leaves a life in Boston to go back to his parents' organic farm in Pennsylvania for the harvest season: It's partially about figuring out what to do with your life.

The answers aren't easy or necessarily clear-cut, but in contemplating what he wants to do alongside similar sorts of choices that his parents faced, he comes to appreciate and identify with them more as well as understand himself. Before Crawford moved to Boston he also spent a number of years in New York, and his time working in publishing and living in the East Village very much reminded me of my own life there at the same time. It's really beautiful at describing place: in this case, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, where New Morning Farm is located.

Reading the book you get a sense of what the Farm and its surroundings looked like, and the way the farm operated, but also the place of these urban back-to-the-land interlopers among the long-time residents of this part of rural Pennsylvania. The murder of another farmer by a local serves as a way to explore these issues, but so too is a much shorter scene involving the Crawfords' neighbors and an ill-fated dog.

What a difficult book to describe. A rural lifestyle centered on the new, smaller organic farms and how they survive and thrive in the modern world. But it's also about the honesty of that heavy, difficult work and how it combines sublime beauty with sweat and dirty hands.


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  7. Arlo Crawford takes a look at his childhood, where he is now, and where he might go in the future. And as What a difficult book to describe. And as part of that he eventually examines the most traumatic even of his childhood, the senseless murder of a close family friend by a retired postal worker. I really enjoyed this book. I like gardening and I loved the special view of farming on 75 acres that Arlo shared with me. And this book is so beautifully written. In fact, if I was to rank the 3, I would say that Arlo Crawford's book was by far the best.

    Nov 21, Natalie rated it really liked it. The town names are all familiar, and I can picture the shale in the soil, the rippling ridges of the Appalachians, the Mennonites in their yards hanging up the laundry, the flat lands east of the mountains with their lonely farmhouses and vast fields of corn. And my second favorite thing is that I know all about this "back to the land" big idea. Let's go run a farm, let's get our h Possibly my favorite thing about "A Farm Dies Once a Year" is that I know the countryside of the farm in the title.

    Questions?

    Let's go run a farm, let's get our hands dirty, let's feel alive. Farm work is hard, eating vegetables that you grew yourself is magical.

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    The intimate descriptions of Crawford's family, childhood, and the inner workings of an organic farm were utterly charming. I didn't want it to end. For a little while there I was back home in high summer in Western Maryland, listening to the cicadas in the drowsy August heat. To the author: Thanks so much for sharing your summer back on the farm, and your family, with us. Jun 14, Jo rated it really liked it. Every Saturday morning we my middle son and I, these days stop in and gather seasonal, organic produce, taking joy in what's new and beautiful.

    All week we relish the fresh-picked goodness and return for more radiantly healthy gems the following Saturday--a glorious rhythm, woven by now into the very fiber of our hearts. Oct 14, Scott rated it it was amazing. First book this year that made me cry. Aug 05, Theresa rated it it was amazing. This book is a bout a young man on his way to finding himself as he reconciles that he does not want to take over his parent's farm in Pennsylvania. It is sweet, poignant, sad, funny and well written. The author has talent in writing.

    I really enjoyed it. Jul 20, Annie Bronchetti rated it liked it. I particularly liked the section of the book that described the activities and events involved with selling at the farmers market in the city and the authors fathers relationship with the customers and his love for and excitement about the produce he offered. A ton of hard work but such an enjoyable scene and the essence of Farm to Table. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone had the ability to buy their food from such a farmer? Oct 17, Tor rated it it was amazing. May 16, Jennifer rated it really liked it. Really farming sounds appealing for one season, as experienced by the author.

    The farmers in the story were amazing business people and horticulturists, which is quite a mix, especially since they were completely self taught. So impressive. Plus, they sounded like amazing parents and just plan cool people. Feb 22, Wesley rated it really liked it. This was a nice and easy read. Arlo tells his story in an engaging manner which, while the content isn't all that exciting or interesting, ends up feeling very comfortable I appreciated his wit, attention to detail, and completely genuine approach.

    I would highly recommend this book. Apr 30, Chad Waite rated it it was amazing. What an amazing book. Thank you Arlo for capturing what an incredible life it is to be a producing farmer in our day! Aug 06, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: Continuing the summer of memoirs. This book was much more than I expected. When Arlo returned to his parent's farm, I expected him to "find himself" during the long growing season he spent with his parents and various workers that called New Morning Farm home that year. He was also joined there by his girlfriend Sarah.

    I didn't think she would last and was pleasantly surprised that they married after. One major truth I learned I always thought I would li Continuing the summer of memoirs. I always thought I would like a small farm but his description of the work made it apparent I would not have really wanted to slave away morning to night. What made me very sad while reading was the fact that his parents were hippies that escaped corporate America but the man Arlo described his father to be while he was running the farm was not very different from an executive running a firm.

    Working all hours in his office, barking orders to his employees and constantly on the phone , marketing his business and worrying about the bottom line. The man his father became was not very different from his former colleagues in law school. The clothes and vehicles were different but the worry and stress were just the same. How could they really enjoy what they had on the farm? It was all work and business. All in all, a well written story and any book that makes you pause in your day and think is worth the time you devote to reading it. Oh, and thanks to the public library where I saw it on the recent released book shelf and picked it up.

    May 13, Ryan rated it really liked it. Imagine yourself sitting down at a desk, keyboard in front of you, and writing a love letter to your parents. You want to tell them how much you love them, how appreciative you are of the way they raised you, how much you admire their strength, and how you will never truly feel as if you have lived up to their example. You want them to understand how much they mean to you, how truly magnificent they are in your eyes. You want to thank them for allowing you to have your own life, to follow your o Imagine yourself sitting down at a desk, keyboard in front of you, and writing a love letter to your parents.

    You want to thank them for allowing you to have your own life, to follow your own path, even though it's not the one they themselves had chosen. But most of all, you just want to say I love you. Lifelong Learning. Featured Resources.

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    A Farm Dies Once a Year

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    Date Edition Publisher Phys Desc. Language Availability First edition. Henry Holt and Company, pages ; 22 cm. English On Shelf. More Info Place Hold. Add a Review. Add To List. Also in This Series. More Like This. More Copies In Prospector. Loading Prospector Copies Table of Contents. Loading Table Of Contents Loading Excerpt



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