One Dream, Sixty Acres and a Family Undone
By Melissa Coleman
To say this book is a beautifully written memoir does not do it justice. Melissa Coleman tells the story of her parents and what moved them not to be hippies, but to be true back-to-nature farmers. They were not interested in the drug culture, altering their minds, or a commune way of life. They wanted only to provide a natural, simple, down to earth life for themselves and their family.
Following the example, of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of Living the Good Life, Eliot and Sue Coleman forged out a sixty acre farm on coastal Maine. It is there they built their home, and then had first Melissa and later her sister, Heidi.
Melissa tells the story of her family, their farm and the simpler way of life they embraced. She writes of a childhood full of eating wild blueberries, running naked in the rain, making homemade bread, chopping wood and gathering seaweed. It is a full and happy life for the Coleman’s.
There comes a point though, when Melissa’s parent’s relationship is strained and pulled apart by outside influences and stresses. Not long after, the sudden tragic death of her three year old sister tears the family and all that it was, all that it stood for apart, leaving only broken dreams in its wake. Melissa is left to neighbors as her family disintegrates.
This book is Melissa Coleman’s search to sort through her families dreams, to make sense of what happened and why, how such beauty could have gone so awry. She looks to answer how one can find forgiveness when there is no actual blame. Truly, a thread of wisdom winds throughout her book, as she teaches us the price of sacrifice and the value of forgiveness.