The writing isn't always the smoothest or most literate, and the struggling single mom story is one that's been done and done again. But Mardi Link does paint a clear and definite picture of herself, her sons, and life on her Michigan farm. She is a constantly changing and contradictory mix of bravado, stubbornness, naivete, courage, pride, ignorance and thoughtfulness. She doesn't always make the right choices; she can be amazingly dense (a fireplace can be used to heat the house? Really?), but also quietly insightful.