Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful

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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.


"Mary's story is one that will live deep in the corners of your heart forever, reminding you, through her own experiences and beautiful storytelling, that the good stuff of life is often found in the hardest circumstances. Dirt is the inspiring story of a girl who knew something better was on the other side of fear and challenge. Mary's words are so poignant and touched my heart in so many ways. This is a story you will keep with you long after you turn the final page. I'm so excited to share this truly extraordinary memoir with everyone I know, and I'm eager for Mary to put pen to paper again."

Emily Ley, bestselling author of When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good

"Mary Marantz is a born storyteller! She is an exceptional writer who has that unique ability to transform even the hardest of scenes into profound fine art. Her writing just has a way of taking you by the hand and walking you back to truth, to a place called home. If you're tired of running from your story and ready to lean into the strength it gives you, this book is for you. Dirt is truly a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps American anthem. All I could think was how our two stories are so different, and yet Mary's story is also my own. It's all of our stories. This deeply moving debut book is a triumph in every way!"

Jessica Honegger, founder of Noonday Collection and author of Imperfect Courage

"In Philippians, the apostle Paul talks about the great stuff he's done, the horrible stuff he's been through, and how it's all forgettable in light of God. Those verses come to mind when I hear or read Mary's words. Her story matters because all of our stories matter--but it's not her accolades or her acknowledgments of pain that you'll remember most. Her words reek of God's grace, glory, and goodness, and of our ability to cling to them. Whether you come to this book with the most successful or the most stinky past, you'll be blessed and loved well by Mary's leading. She's a good friend, and this is a good book."

Jess Connolly, author of You Are the Girl for the Job and Take It Too Far

"In this captivating, compelling book, Mary Marantz draws you into a moving story with plenty of space to breathe and say, 'I've felt that too.' Marantz writes from right here on the ground, meeting you where you are. She tells the unique story of her life in a beautifully relatable way, where you will comb through every page and be reminded: through it all, there is grace."

Morgan Harper Nichols, author of All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living

"It's easy to want to discard your roots and turn away from the mess that made you, but Mary Marantz does just the opposite in this beautiful work. Filled with the kind of writing that drops you directly into the gritty details of the story, Mary sifts through her own 'dirt' to reveal pure treasures and glimpses of God to hold onto for the long haul. This book is gorgeously written, and every last word is so intentionally placed. The words are stunning. The pictures she paints are so real, I could not put it down! Get ready to have your heart shaken up and made better through the pages of this book."

Hannah Brencher, author of Come Matter Here and Fighting Forward (2021)

"How is it possible to find myself within a story that is so different from my own? Through gorgeous writing and brave truth telling, Mary guides us to lean into our own stories and find transformation and redemption we never thought possible. Dirt is an anthem of love over circumstances and faith over fear. I dare you to start this book and not read it in one sitting. I know it will leave you inspired, challenged, and changed."

Nicole Zasowski, marriage and family therapist and author of From Lost to Found

"Dirt is a beautifully written memoir that I could barely put down. Mary's words are equal parts poetry and pain, sadness and soaring redemption. For every one of us who has ever wished for an easier story, Dirt is the fight song we have been waiting for. An invitation to trade shame, striving, perfectionism, and unforgiveness for grace, rest, freedom, and reconciliation. I found myself repeatedly nodding my head, seeing myself in her story, even though our pasts could not be more different. I can't think of a more important, desperately needed message right now. This book is a wakeup call, a resounding reminder to stop running and to dig deep into the mud that made us."

Tonya Dalton, bestselling author of The Joy of Missing Out

"One word: riveting. If you're looking for your next page-turner that will make you believe anything is possible for yourself, Dirt is what you need to read."

Jess Ekstrom, author of Chasing the Bright Side

The Author

  1. Mary Marantz
    Justin Marantz

    Mary Marantz

    Mary Marantz grew up in a trailer in rural West Virginia. The first of her immediate family to go to college, she went on to earn a master's degree in moral philosophy and a law degree from Yale. After ditching six-figure-salary law firm offers in London and...

    Continue reading about Mary Marantz