Yet another “a year of …” by people who would normally probably be unlikable. This one’s premise is getting your life together, one self-help book a month, for a year. Wild! Wacky! Lessons learned: Almost none. The author lives the same life as before she started, except more thoughtful. Oh, and of course – the only way she could afford her “year of” is because she is being paid to do it.
My lesson learned? Suze Orman still rocks, but Richard Simmons rocks even harder.
I am trying to live more sustainably and be more conscious of my choices and how it impacts the world around me (a slow, painstaking, occasionally expensive or inconvenient process) and have read a bunch of memoirs about the topic (the straight non-fiction stuff is often not as appealing). This is the story of one guy (an adventure journalist/NPR Reporter) who tries to live with all the creature comforts, but off the grid and carbon neutral.
A few thoughts:
- God, this guy sounds occasionally annoying. He often makes fun of “whoo-whoo” New Mexico (although god, it sounds gorgeous and an awesome place to live) but he is a single guy who built himself a dance studio. And meditates. That’s pretty whoo-whoo.
- It’s a lot more about how he messes a lot up and falls off of ladders or whatever then it is about the success.
- I get it. I hate Bush too – but enough already! Almost every other sentence is a “witty” remark about Bush or whatever. He named the chicken-eating coyote “Dick Cheney.”
- It’s just written in far too self-conscious a style (“She screamed in the way that only a woman who finds out her daughter is marrying Kevin Federline would” – only a slight paraphrasing).
- The hook is supposed to be about how he manages to maintain a modern life off the grid, etc. (it even mentions Netflix on the book flap) – but aside from the fact that he has hot water and a bio-car, there is nothing about the rest of the world. Does he give up Netflix? Find a local DVD store? I think those kinds of things would have been more interesting than solar panels. I know all about solar panels, damnit.
- It drives me crazy that some of the books have the message of “Well, you can do it too!” without mentioning that the reason they can live this farm life is because they are writing a book about it. Or a writer. I can’t continue my current job and live on a farm – unless of course I had a book advance, funding me buying a farm!
- He names his ranch “The Funky Butte Ranch.” Do I really have to say more?
Anyway, it was good – but not groundbreaking. I want more, but not from him. If YOU want more, check out his blog – http://www.farewellmysubaru.com – I am about to go read that now.
By the way – is this really a memoir? What do you call this kind of “A year of doing something wacky” style of books that is so popular and that I normally love?