The Dirty Life

“The Dirty Life is a wonderfully told tale of one of the most interesting farms in the country. If you want to understand the heart and soul of the new/old movement towards local food, this is the book you need. It's the voice of what comes next in this land, of the generation unleashed by Wendell Berry to do something really grand.”

— Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

The Dirty Life is a delightful, tumultuous, and tender story of the author’s love affair with the man who becomes her husband and the farm they work together to restore. With wisdom and humor, Kristin Kimball describes how she abandoned her career in New York City, leaving behind everything she thought was important for a hard, distinctly unglamorous existence that turns out to be the most fulfilling thing she’s ever done.”

Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses

"Kimball is a graceful, luminous writer with an eye for detail… How lucky we are to be able to step into that world with no sweat. I wished for a hundred pages more."

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[An] appealing memoir…Luckily for the reader, Kimball has a lusty appetite and her memoir is as much a celebration of food as it is of farming.”

— The New York Times Book Review, December 5, 2010

“Kimball’s memoir is heightened by the serious question at its heart—What modes of farming besides industrial agriculture are available to us, and how might we achieve them?—and by her intimate yet spacious prose, spiked with color and wonderful descriptions of food… you feel, in reading the book, as if she’s thrown open the big red doors on her barn and invited you in.”


“[Kimball has] given us a taste of a life that makes us appreciate the hard-won food we all eat and the sense of purpose and connection so many of us crave.”

— Christian Science Monitor

"In her beguiling memoir, Kimball describes the complex truth about the simple life in prose that is observant and lyrical, yet tempered by a farmer’s lack of sentimentality."

— Elle Magazine

"As Kimball chronicles that first year in supple prose, the farm takes on vivid form, with the frustrations balancing the satisfactions and the dark complementing the light. Throughout the book, the author ably describes the various trials and tribulations involved... A hearty, chromatic account of a meaningful accomplishment in farming."

— Kirkus Reviews

“In this poignant, candid chronicle by season, Kimball writes how she and Mark infused new life into Essex Farm, and lost their hearts to it… (there was) no end to the dirty, hard, fiercely satisfying tasks, winningly depicted by Kimball.”

— Publishers Weekly

“Kimball has a gift for throwing into high relief contemporary Americans’ disconnect between farm-life realities and city ambitions.”

— Booklist

An Indie Next Notable Book for October 2010
Amazon Best Books of 2010
Top 100 Editors’ Picks
Top 10 Books: Home & Garden

NPR’s All Things Considered:
From City Girl to Hog Butcher?
Audio Slideshow: Kristin Kimball's Farm

New Voices: Kristin Kimball

PBS Interview (YouTube):
Author Visits: Kristin Kimball - The Dirty Life