How The Trees Saved My Life (With A Little Help From Chocolate)

At sixteen, fed up with high school, which felt like the most boring, barbaric, unbearable thing ever, I signed up as an exchange student and went to France.  What ensued was a gigantic mess which led to an experience that transformed my understanding of the world and remains at the core of who I am today.   How The Trees Saved My Life (With a Little Help From Chocolate) tells this story.  It’s not a memoir, though most of the events are true to memory. It’s a novel: recalled life smushed, shuffled and elaborated into a comic tale that revolves around the healing power of nature. It is also a fundraiser. A serialized version, including sketches by the wonderful artist Kate Samworth, will be sent in thanks to anyone who helps Lonely Worm Farm lay the foundation for its orchard.

Imagine cherry, plum, peach and hazelnut trees on a beautiful southern facing slope.  Imagine a wheelchair accessible path switch backing up the terraces so that everyone can smell the blossoms and reap the harvest.  Imagine individuals and families dealing with disability coming to rest and relax and returning home with the makings of cherry pie and hazelnut butter….

Here’s what people are saying:

“A story at times genuinely suspenseful, laugh out loud funny, and always engaging… It is somehow both unique and universal; I never lived this exact experience, and yet it resonated with so much of what I felt at that moment in my own life: The liminal space between childhood and adulthood, between idealism and reality, between resistance and surrender.” —- Craig Thomas, screenwriter, drummer and creator of the CBS hit, How I Met Your Mother

“Eliza Factor’s beautiful writing in How the Trees Saved My Life grabbed me and didn’t let go. She stares at loneliness without blinking … and reminds us that personal transformation, even when deeply craved, rarely follows a predictable path.” —- Johnny Temple, bass player, publisher and editor-in-chief at Akashic Books

“The ultimate coming-of-age novel for the romantic, for the politically engaged, for the outlier– for all of these parts in all of us, at every stage of our life. The magic of the authorial voice is how youth and wisdom come through in equal measure. The sensuality on these pages is only matched by the intelligence and wit. And there’s France! 1980’s punk sensibility! Sunripe apricots and yes, chocolate. I dare you not to consume in one sitting.” —- Joanna Hershon, author of Dual Inheritance and St. Ivo

To sign up, email We will release the first chapters on March 12, 2022. Thank you for supporting trees, sinking carbon, and creating inclusive spaces!