Although The Growing Season is a gutsy success story, it’s never over the top. Frey relates everything in the same matter-of-fact tone, even when she’s describing something that doesn’t reflect well on her ... It would have been so easy for Frey to sand off the rough edges, to buff this story into something shiny and sparkly. She refused — and I admire her for that.
The author adds some of her thoughts on what it’s like to be a modern farmer, which are sometimes hilarious and often endearing. She has the inimitable quality of appearing not as someone who accomplished so much at such a young age but rather a person readers will enjoy getting to know, chapter by chapter ... Frey brings a breath of fresh air to both the personal memoir genre and the business world. Her writing is crisp and her personality winning. A must-read.
Frey is a woman with a potent sense of self and an unmatched ability for inventing and selling herself in a business world often skeptical of or hostile to women, especially those without pedigree or connections ... her story is really about her parents and her four older brothers and it is plenty moving and inspiring, without her overselling the complications ... Her memoir is often like this, both fascinating and frustrating ... Frey’s early years are riveting, without a trace of poverty porn or self-pity on the author’s part ... Those scenes are intensely memorable and make up for Frey often coming at the warped family dynamics sideways — especially the emotional and financial tensions between her parents ... vagueness diverts attention from a powerful narrative about a father losing control of the family over which he reigned ... Unfortunately, for much of the second half of the book Frey sidelines the shifting dynamic between her and her parents. There are other gaps in the story of how she builds her business from a girl and a truck to a company making deals with farmers and stores all over the country, including major chains like Walmart and Lowes. Yet the book maintains a delightful momentum, as she gets her brothers into the new family business, while defying stereotypes and staying true to herself and never losing sight of her mission.
The author and her brothers learned to be tough at a young age, but she doesn’t relate her circumstances in anything less than a matter-of-fact, frequently enthusiastic voice, making the narrative move along in a highly engrossing manner ... With earnest, effective storytelling, Frey demonstrates her character: 'impatient, driven, restless, and at time obsessive'—and highly successful ... A heart-gladdening memoir of a rare triumph over poverty.