Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir

by Jennifer McGaha


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492655381
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 190,295
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

A native of Appalachia, Jennifer McGaha lives with her husband and a menagerie of dogs, goats, chickens, and cats in the North Carolina mountains. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and magazines, including the Huffington Post, the Good Men Project, Lumina, PANK, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Pam Ward has performed in dinner theater, summer stock, and Off-Broadway, as well as in commercials, radio, and film. An experienced narrator, Pam has recorded many titles for the Library of Congress Talking Books program. She is the recipient of an AudioFile Earphones Award and the prestigious Alexander Scourby Award.

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Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
INpurplereader More than 1 year ago
If you have ever experienced a true downturn in your life due to the economy, lack of attention, and sheer human folly, you will probably enjoy thinking of how your life experiences were similar or very different from Jennifer McGaha's memoir Flat Broke with Two Goats. Yes, she was inattentive to the family finances, and yes, she overspent and overindulged in their upper middle class lifestyle. A MarketWatch article from January 2018, nearly half of American families are now one paycheck away from homelessness (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-are-one-medical-emergency-away-from-financial-disaster-2017-01-12), so no judgment is necessary for McGaha is necessary. We're all in the same boat or waiting on the dock. McGaha doesn't try to hide her own faults and her own obliviousness as she watches her husband working a nightmarish number of hours. As an adjunct professor, McGaha makes a pittance. I do find it odd that those reviewers pointing fingers and calling McGaha whiny and privileged do not point those digits at an educational system that is paying a college educator a mere $10-12 per hour. Also, she doesn't go into details as to all the details of each poor decision, but she shares what she has chosen to and what relates to her themes. When the family's circumstances finally back them into a corner, they 'choose' a place that allows them to make a garden, have some livestock, and be able to pay the rent. The journey McGaha takes readers on is bumpy, filled with potholes and snakes, and simplified. Having grown up on a small farm in a poor family, I was struck by how McGaha came to deal with, accept, and finally enjoy her new downsized life. Hearing her speak of ordering chickens, saying they would not name them, then giving them names anyway had me sliding back in time as my own memories were recalled. McGaha wanted them to be self-sufficient, so she learned about gardening, how to make cheeses, how to make soap, how to milk a goat, and mostly, how to live happily with far less. I enjoyed this memoir and even the generational family tales McGaha wove into her tale that some other readers did not like. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy nonfiction, those who are in book clubs, the one percent, and people who grew up close to the land. My rating is 4.5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flat Broke with Two Goats is hilarious, honest, and beautiful. I can't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish this. With every chapter, I just got more angry. What an irresponsible person and family. They got themselves into their tax situation due to gross overspending. They should have both worked two jobs to pay their taxes. Instead we are supposed to feel sorry for them. No - I feel angry that people like this try to get a free ride on responsible people that pay their taxes. Instead of working, this lady continues to be irresponsible and raises chickens and goats and goes for long runs and bike rides. My guess is their kids also got a free ride to college since they no longer had the income. I am surprised this book got published. Do not buy this book and support this person!