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Growing Girls

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Paperback published by Bantam (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Award-winning author Jeanne Marie Laskas has charmed and delighted readers with her heartwarming and hilarious tales of life on Sweetwater Farm. Now she offers her most personal and most deeply felt memoir yet as she embarks on her greatest, most terrifying, most rewarding endeavor of all….

A good mother, writes Jeanne Marie Laskas in her latest report from Sweetwater Farm, would have bought a house in the suburbs with a cul-de-sac for her kids to ride bikes around instead of a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere with a rooster. With the wryly observed self-doubt all mothers and mothers-to-be will instantly recognize, Laskas offers a poignant and laugh-out-loud-funny meditation on that greatest–and most impossible–of all life’s journeys: motherhood.

What is it, she muses, that’s so exhausting about being a mom? You’d think raising two little girls would be a breeze compared to dealing with the barely controlled anarchy of “attack” roosters, feuding neighbors, and a scheme to turn sheep into lawn mowers on the fifty-acre farm she runs with her bemused husband Alex. But, as any mother knows, you’d be wrong.

From struggling with the issues of race and identity as she raises two children adopted from China to taking her daughters to the mall for their first manicures, Jeanne Marie captures those magic moments that make motherhood the most important and rewarding job in the world–even if it’s never been done right. For, as she concludes in one of her three a.m. worry sessions, feeling like a bad mother is the only way to know you’re doing your job.

Whether confronting Sasha’s language delay, reflecting on Anna’s devotion to a creepy backwards-running chicken, feeling outclassed by the fabulous homeroom moms, or describing the rich, secret language each family shares, these candid observations from the front lines of parenthood are filled with love and laughter–and radiant with the tough, tender, and timeless wisdom only raising kids can teach us.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
Award-winning author Jeanne Marie Laskas has charmed and delighted readers with her heartwarming and hilarious tales of life on Sweetwater Farm. Now she offers her most personal and most deeply felt memoir yet as she embarks on her greatest, most terrifying, most rewarding endeavor of all….

A good mother, writes Jeanne Marie Laskas in her latest report from Sweetwater Farm, would have bought a house in the suburbs with a cul-de-sac for her kids to ride bikes around instead of a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere with a rooster. With the wryly observed self-doubt all mothers and mothers-to-be will instantly recognize, Laskas offers a poignant and laugh-out-loud-funny meditation on that greatest–and most impossible–of all life’s journeys: motherhood.

What is it, she muses, that’s so exhausting about being a mom? You’d think raising two little girls would be a breeze compared to dealing with the barely controlled anarchy of “attack” roosters, feuding neighbors, and a scheme to turn sheep into lawn mowers on the fifty-acre farm she runs with her bemused husband Alex. But, as any mother knows, you’d be wrong.

From struggling with the issues of race and identity as she raises two children adopted from China to taking her daughters to the mall for their first manicures, Jeanne Marie captures those magic moments that make motherhood the most important and rewarding job in the world–even if it’s never been done right. For, as she concludes in one of her three a.m. worry sessions, feeling like a bad mother is the only way to know you’re doing your job.

Whether confronting Sasha’s language delay, reflecting on Anna’s devotion to a creepy backwards-running chicken, feeling outclassed by the fabulous homeroom moms, or describing the rich, secret language each family shares, these candid observations from the front lines of parenthood are filled with love and laughter–and radiant with the tough, tender, and timeless wisdom only raising kids can teach us.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (288 pages)
Published: May 1, 2007
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
ISBN: 9780553381504
Other books byJeanne Marie Laskas
  • Fifty Acres and a Poodle

    Fifty Acres and a Poodle
    A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself...
    Jeanne Marie Laskas had a dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space — a dream she would discover was about something more than that. But she never expected her fantasy to come true — until a summer afternoon’s drive in the country. That’s when she and her boyfriend, Alex — owner of Marley the poodle — stumble upon the place she thought existed only in her dreams. This pretty-as-a-picture-postcard farm with an Amish barn, a chestnut grove, and breathtaking vistas is real ... and for sale. And it’s where she knows her future begins. But buying a postcard — fifty acres of scenery — and living on it are two entirely different matters. With wit and wisdom, Laskas chronicles the heartwarming and heartbreaking stories of the colorful two- and four-legged creatures she encounters on Sweetwater Farm. Against a backdrop of brambles, a satellite dish, and sheep, she tells a tender, touching, and hilarious tale about life, love, and the unexpected complications of having your dream come true.

    Hidden America

    Hidden America
    From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary...
    Five hundred feet underground, Jeanne Marie Laskas asked a coal miner named Smitty, “Do you think it’s weird that people know so little about you?” He replied, “I don’t think people know too much about the way the whole damn country works.” Hidden America intends to fix that. Like John McPhee and Susan Orlean, Laskas dives deep into her subjects and emerges with character-driven narratives that are gripping, funny, and revelatory. In Hidden America, the stories are about the people who make our lives run every day—and yet we barely think of them. Laskas spent weeks in an Ohio coal mine and on an Alaskan oil rig; in a Maine migrant labor camp, a Texas beef ranch, the air traffic control tower at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a California landfill, an Arizona gun shop, the cab of a long-haul truck in Iowa, and the stadium of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders. Cheerleaders? Yes. They, too, are hidden America, and you will be amazed by what Laskas tells you about them: hidden no longer.

    The Exact Same Moon

    The Exact Same Moon
    Fifty Acres and a Family
    In Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Jeanne Marie Laskas described how she survived her first hilariously tumultuous year at Sweetwater Farm. Now she returns with a funny, touching, and personal new memoir of what happens after your dream comes true... With a picture-postcard farm, a wonderful marriage, two mules, and a new refrigerator that spits crushed ice, what more can a girl ask for? That’s precisely the question Jeanne Marie asks herself as she and Alex settle into their new life at Sweetwater Farm. Two years ago they left the city behind for a life filled with the practical, often comical, lessons of living close to the land—and they never looked back. Yet when her strong-willed mom is hospitalized with a sudden and mysterious paralysis, Jeanne Marie rushes home to Philadelphia and her extended, sometimes chaotic, but always loving family. It’s there that she realizes what is still missing from her life: a family of her own. Now it’s a matter of bringing up the subject to her husband, Alex, fifteen years older and with adult children of his own, who seems terrified that she’s thinking of adopting a Chihuahua. With warmth, wisdom, and unfailing humor, Laskas tells the poignant story of her search for motherhood—and what happens when a woman risks happily-ever-after for something even more precious. As she tends to her own ailing mother, Jeanne Marie discovers that the challenges and rewards of living with Mother Nature pale in comparison to those awakened by the nature of mothering. The Exact Same Moon is filled with hilarious and heartwarming vignettes of people and a way of life you’ll be glad you met. From "borrowing" sheep to help mow the lawn and sitting in on the racy hay jokes at the Agway Equine Clinic, to befriending the notorious old lady who holds the water rights to their future pond, corrupting the neighbors with satellite TV, and learning the fine art of going a-calling, Laskas proves once again that laughter, love, and wisdom are truly homegrown. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Balloon Lady and Other People I Know

    The Balloon Lady and Other People I Know
    This is the first title in a new series Emerging Writers in Creative Nonfiction. This collection of sixteen essays encompasses a wide range of fascinating characters: Tom Cruise, Geraldo Rivera, the woman who pilots balloons, the man who trains and races pigs and many other extraordinary people. Jeanne Marie Laskas is a highly talented story teller who looks at the world from her unique perspective.

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