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.
In Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Laskas recounted her move to a tranquil Pennsylvania farm. Now that she and her husband have settled in, she artfully chronicles her daily routine caring for the farm animals, meeting neighbors and visiting her mother, who's very ill with Guillain-Barr Syndrome (an inflammatory disorder resulting in paralysis). While Laskas lives an apparently idyllic life, her mother's sickness triggers her own desire to become a mother. She writes, "Ever since my mom got sick... I've been trying to figure out what to do with this hole in my heart, and for a while it was going away, but now it's just getting bigger...." Laskas, 39, unsuccessfully tries to repress her need to be a mom, and soon, she and her husband are involved in fertility testing and exploring adoption. Laskas details her search for motherhood with evocative writing. She discusses with equal aplomb both mundane matters, like learning about pasture management at an "Equine Clinic" and taking the dogs for a walk, and significant events like going to China to adopt a baby. Her descriptions are strong enough to make even readers unfamiliar with her situation feel moved, as when she writes, "A mother's love comes on like a thunderstorm. You may or may not hear the rumble as it approaches, you may or may not have time to close your windows and call in your cat. But when the storm comes, the storm is all there is. The sky opens and weeps and howls and devours."