Melissa Coleman is a Maine-based freelance travel writer and the author of the memoir, This Life Is in Your Hands.
Melissa’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Geographic Traveler, Travel Weekly, O Magazine, The Oregonian, Portland Press Herald, Maine, Maine Home + Design, and on Everett Potter’s Travel Report and Powells.com.
This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak, was a New York Times bestseller, Indie Next Pick, People’s Pick in People Magazine, and nonfiction finalist for the Maine Literary and New England Book awards. A window into the 1970s back-to-the-land movement, it tells of the joys, challenges, and a family tragedy experienced while growing up on an off-the-grid homestead that was inspired by self-sufficiency icons Helen and Scott Nearing.
Melissa’s father, Eliot Coleman, a renowned pioneer of the organic farming movement, and her stepmother, gardening author Barbara Damrosch, own Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. Her sister, Clara Coleman, manages the family farm and is a sustainable farming consultant.
“Intense readability . . .haunting power . . . as well as lush, vivid atmosphere that is alluring in its own right. . . . Coleman’s memoir is not one of trendy virtue, but of authenticity.”
–New York Times Book Critic
“Combine the sincerity of Thoreau’s Walden with the poignancy of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, add dashes of the lush prose found in Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, and you end up with Melissa Coleman’s This Life Is in Your Hands. From first to last, I was engaged and deeply moved by this evocative tale of Paradise found then lost.”
–Author The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much Is True, and She’s Come Undone
“A dream, a family, a heartbreaking tragedy–and a book I could not put down. Melissa Coleman’s memoir of a back-to-the-land childhood is fresh, organic, and gorgeously written.”
–Author of The Law of Dreams, The O’Briens and Carry Me
“With beautiful lyrical prose, Melissa Coleman shows us what life in a 1970s back-to-nature farm was like, and the dear price her family paid pursuing their dream.”
–Author of The Red Thread and The Book That Matters Most
“Melissa Coleman’s enthralling account of 70’s back-to-the-land living is an important cultural and emotional document: this is a story about surviving and, eventually, thriving amidst the shadows of loss.”
–Author of The Uses of Enchantment and The Folded Clock
“Lyrical and down-to-earth, wry and heartbreaking, This Life Is in Your Hands is a fascinating and powerful memoir. Melissa Coleman doesn’t just tell the story of her family’s brave experiment and private tragedy, she brings to life an important and underappreciated chapter of our recent history.”
–Author of Little Children, Election, and The Leftovers