|North Country Press||
Praise for Freedom Farm
“...an achingly good book about the fullness of being in the world—a fullness of body and mind, of lament and love.”
--Rick Barot, author of The Galleons and Darker Fall
“Funny, affecting, and wise, Freedom Farm is a romp and also a Valentine—to place, weather, family, and the power of memory and imagination—accomplished not only with love, but with vigor and verve. A book for all seasons and all creatures great and small.”
--Dinah Lenney, author of Coffee and The Object Parade
“Within the pages of Neves’s Freedom Farm, everything bristles with life — each family member, each goat and pig and stone and bean and windrow, each acre of the Maine farm of her childhood where she learns the difference between wanting and having, where “pleasure comes in being able to provide for yourself.” Neves is a born storyteller with a personal essayist’s pitch-perfect voice, a generous and self-deprecating humor, and a rare gift for digressions that lead us, her lucky readers, into the deepest landscapes of the human heart.”
--Rebecca McClanahan, author of In the Key of New York City: A Memoir in Essays and The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change
“A shrewd and gutsy truth-teller, Neves is a superb narrator with the ability to flex her voice easily over a wide register. A wry self-knowledge bonds us to her, a smart and capable woman prone to throw herself impulsively into any task with gusto and confidence, often lacking the preparation she knows is necessary (“I enjoy the uncalculated risk”). Neves’s sharply observant eye catches the precarious balance and human comedy of the present, while sifting the past and imagining the future. The transformative magic of Neves’s mind and heart weaves these separate pieces into an interconnected, multifaceted whole, the way successful families—and the best stories—do. Freedom Farm has the surety and wisdom of an instant classic.”
--Stan Sanvel Rubin, author of There. Here. and Hidden Sequel
“In Neves’s hands, and through her words, these essays are far more than retellings of family lore, or a repository for family history—they are each, unto themselves, explorations of pressing questions, and investigations into authenticity, and a way of honoring the beliefs and objects we inherit from our elders and family members that outlast time and place.”
--Lia Purpura, author of Rough Likeness, and All the Fierce Tethers
“Jennifer Neves is our modern-day E.B. White! In delightful essays that make us both laugh and cry, Neves ruminates on a wide range of topics from beans to goats to children, always with an eye toward how our stories make us who we are. Freedom Farm is one of the most satisfying collections I’ve read in a very long time.”
--Brenda Miller, author of An Earlier Life
“Neves writes with humor, honesty, and an innate storytelling ability. As we move with her through farm seasons and years, we see not only the “cyclical nature of raising crops” but the cycle of a human life, too. This memoir takes us into a world so few have ventured and is a true pleasure to read.”
--Jessica Barksdale, author of The Burning Hour and the forthcoming The Play’s the Thing
Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Best Second Book.
Being born the daughter of surgeons does not make you a surgeon, but what about being the daughter of a farmer? What happens when childhood and on-the-job training are one in the same? In Jennifer Neves’s inquisitive and humorous collection of essays about growing up and raising a family in rural Maine, there is little doubt that memories and the stories they inspire continue to guide and shape her throughout life. This collection is both an investigation into the authenticity of family lore and a meditation on the nature of memory itself, how it changes over time and how we are changed by it.
Jennifer Neves is a farmer’s daughter who can’t quite let go of farming. She works as a technical writer while also tackling the daily chores of raising people, which have proven even more time intensive than vegetables. She is the author of Backpack Like You Mean It and her work has appeared in Litro Online Magazine, and Literary Mama. She lives on a farm in Palermo, Maine.