Dirt is a story about the places where we start. From a single-wide trailer in the mountains of rural West Virginia to the halls of Yale Law School, Mary Marantz’s story is one of remembering our roots while turning our faces to the sky. From growing up in that trailer, where it rained just as hard inside as out and the smell of mildew hung thick in the air, Mary has known what it is to feel broken and disqualified because of the muddy scars leaving smudged fingerprints across our lives. Generations of her family lived and logged in those hauntingly treacherous woods, risking life and limb just to barely scrape by. And yet that very struggle became the redemption song God used to write a life she never dreamed of.

Mixed with warmth, wit, and the bittersweet, sometimes achingly heartbreaking places we go when we dig in instead of give up, Dirt is a story of healing. With gut-wrenching honesty and hard-won wisdom, Mary shares her story for anyone who has ever walked into the world and felt like their scars were still on display, showing that you are braver, better, and more empathetic for what you have survived. Because God does his best work in the muddy, messy, and broken—if we’ll only learn to dig in.


What happens when the hero of our story at last has to come face-to-face with what no amount of success will ever fix? That feeling of being on the outside looking in.

From the mountains of West Virginia and a dirt-filled single wide trailer, our narrator shows us how getting what we want doesn’t always fix things. But at the same time, we get to see how her childhood and growing up with love and dirt can reveal how one can stand taller after facing the struggle.

Dirt is a story of growing up and finding one’s place in the world, despite the disadvantages of one’s roots. It is about a reconciliation with the roots that grow us, springing from the muddiest parts of our story. A story that started with dirt.

Beautifully written, I could not put it down until the end. 4.5 stars. #2020ReadNonficChallenge


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