memoir / nonfiction

Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir by Jennifer McGaha


I really wanted to like the book more than I did. Her endless making herself out to be a victim was so tiresome. She seems to still be perplexed why the people she defaulted on (hundreds of thousands of dollars!) and whose house they did not maintain or repair would not want to talk to her ever again or why their things were moved into the garage and the locks were changed once the foreclosure started. Who wouldn’t do that, the author was so out of touch with reality and so stubborn not to fix leaks, the stove, the insulation when they lived there, for all their “friends” they ripped off knew, she’d steal the fixtures or trash the place.

They also made very few steps to cut back on expenses, sending their kids to private school after they learned of the IRS issue–they owe over $100,000– meals out, drinking, travel etc. She refused to even look into teaching HS, she has a degree and most places they can teach HS while you get a teaching certificate or at least sub. She didn’t think they’d pass the background check but she didn’t even try. Instead, she kept being an adjunct making well under 10,000 a year. She refused to apply for a job at a department store because she wore casual “arty” clothes. I can’t imagine writing a memoir and telling people about all of this. I’d be too ashamed. I think she still thinks she behaved properly and was a victim in all this and that’s why she feels like people will read this and sympathize with her.

She didn’t learn anything by the end at all–taking out thousands of dollars of student loans to get an MFA when she already has one MA in writing. How is that going to actually help her earning potential? It is adding to their tremendous debt and if she really wanted to become a tenured professor, she needs a doctorate, not an MFA.

The book ends with her saying that the friend she bought the house from also behaved badly–how I truly don’t know! She seems upset and bewildered that she cut off contact after they stopped paying her the mortgage but what did she expect? She neglected the house by her own admission and stopped paying the mortgage! Who on earth would want to stay in contact with someone like that? Maybe the house wasn’t in awesome shape, to begin with, but they chose to buy it and get a private mortgage from their friends, the sellers. She seems to think everything just happened to her but it really was all her fault.

Worth a peek if you really want a glimpse into the mind of a delusional “victim”.

I read this as part of the Big Library Read which is a fun idea, even if the book was infuriating.

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