• The Dirty Life

  • On Farming, Food, and Love
  • By: Kristin Kimball
  • Narrated by: Kristin Kimball
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From a “graceful, luminous writer with an eye for detail” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), this riveting memoir explores a year on a sustainable farm.

When Kristin Kimball left New York City to interview a dynamic young farmer named Mark, her world changed. On an impulse, she shed her city self and started a new farm with him on 500 acres near Lake Champlain. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of the couple’s first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through their harvest-season wedding in the loft of the barn. 

Kristin and Mark’s plan to grow everything needed to feed a community was an ambitious idea, and a bit romantic. It worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, over a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the “whole diet” - beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and 40 different vegetables - produced by the farm. In The Dirty Life, Kristin discovers the wrenching pleasures of physical work, learns that good food is at the center of a good life, falls deeply in love, and finally finds the engagement and commitment she craved in the form of a man, a small town, and a beautiful piece of land.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2010 Kristin Kimball (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

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What listeners say about The Dirty Life

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    3 out of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this one...

I love books about new homesteaders or farmers, as well as real-life stories about people who were plunked out of one life and plopped into another. As a positive, Kristin can write. I loved so many of her descriptions of the land, the animals, the contradictory feelings she battled as she set out on her new life. I absolutely adored the way she described the food and the meals they ate, so realistic I could almost taste them. But as a negative, this book was so solemn and serious! Was life on their farm really all work and no play? There wasn't an even an ounce of humor or comedic descriptions of anything funny or lighthearted or playful. No wit or banter whatsoever. Even the scene describing their wedding came off as stressful, panicked, and completely disorganized when I'm sure there was some humor to be found there. She talked about the magic between herself and Mark, but none of it came through in her story. It was hard to discern that they even liked each other. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if she had a professional narrator, but her voice was so soft and so flat it came off as a sad, melancholy whisper reading a very heavy story of her life. I couldn't listen to it while driving because I could barely hear her words with the volume on its highest setting. Finally, the accompanying PDF was sorely lacking. She talked about at least a half-dozen different dishes I was eager to try when I was done listening, assuming they'd be in the additional content. They weren't, which was odd and highly disappointing. All in all, I'm glad I read it. But if I ever wanted to become a farmer, which I don't, this book would have steered me far, far away from that path.

5 people found this helpful

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eh.

couldn't get past the first few chapters. maybe it gets better, but it's basically just a love letter about the husband.

3 people found this helpful

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A good farm story

I enjoyed this book very much. I was a bit weary after some of the reviews, and Kristin is by no means your Emmy award winning a tired, but what she is, is real, raw and to not only read her story but to hear it in her own voice brings something special. I laughed, I cried, I nodded along to this heartwarming tale of so much more than just farming.

3 people found this helpful

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Speak like you really experienced this adventure!

The narrator spoke in a monotone, hushed voice. if this was the author it sounded like she wasn't very enthusiastic about her story. I almost stopped listening even though I wanted to hear about the experiences.

2 people found this helpful

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riveting, enlightening, and rich

once I started listening to this book, I couldn't stop. I am a beginning farmer, and this book contains so much information about the why of farming. I will only say that it is one of the better books on the subject I have ever ingested, and it is written by a great writer. I have never been more impressed with any other audiobook, and I am a very avid listener.

1 person found this helpful

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This was so powerful and passionate

i absolutely loved this book, the way it was wrote and the narrators voice. I found myself crying at odd times in the book simply from the weight of the words being spoken. This is a beautiful and honest love story and memoir not sugarcoated by romance but rater romanticised by the wise reflection of her journey.

1 person found this helpful

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Depressing

She tells the true story of how hard farming is. I kept waiting for the story to turn good and happy but it seemed to just continue to tell about all the horrible hard things.

1 person found this helpful

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I loved this book.

If you're interested in farming this story will give an accurate picture of its work and sacrifice as well as it's beauty and glory.

1 person found this helpful

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This sparks my inner homestead yearning

Everything is about personal preference. I am writing this review after listening to this book for the third time. The tone in Kristen's voice paints the picture of each story so well. The softness is almost a whisper. It's a memory she is recalling for her reader or friend. There are countless homestead books that I would consider fluff. They gives the people what they want to hear; hiding the failure, weariness and giant learning curve. The Dirty Life relays all of that. A city/worldly woman struggling to find herself, lose herself and live for someone and something else. All the while jumping head first into her fiance's vision for life. While listening to this book I have ordered her suggested reading. I have, most importantly given myself a realistic expectation for the first year on our little farm, and the prospect of a rhythm and great joy for the years that follow. I will be listening again.

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Great book

Very well written and being read by the author you can feel her passion for her work. Her voice is nice too.