Sorry for the book reviews so close together. I decided to throw my back out yesterday….I don’t even know how it happened. So my picture-taking abilities are limited (I’m stuck on the couch….)
Dolly Freed, at the time of this writing, was an 18 year old girl with a chip on her shoulder caused by the world. After going through the divorce of her parents, she decides to live with her father who refuses to work a 9-5 job and she follows in his footsteps. This book is a memoir of her time with him and also a how-to for anyone looking to take on the “Possum Life”.
First off, I’m going to say that this title is very misleading. In 1976 these two (Dolly and her father) got by on $1400 a year, which was 1/4 of the “living wage” back then for a family of four. So, right out the gate, they are not “extremely” poor, but they are still poor. Also, Dolly keeps a regular job cleaning houses and babysitting while her father takes on odd jobs in the neighborhood and once in a while, he goes to Manpower for a week or two at a time. Don’t let her fool you, they do have jobs, but they are jobs that don’t fit in the 9-5 rat race.
I would also like to point out that no person should take any advice from Dolly (her older and wiser self agrees) when it comes to government, insurance, or taxes. Many of things abdicated this book are extremely illegal and not something you should attempt. Since the dawn of the digital age, no one can hide from taxes. Also, please don’t go make moonshine and sell it to people. That could get you some serious jail time.
This book is definitely a must read, if nothing else, it gives you the sense that living on very little is possible. Since I live that kind of life already, I appreciated their hardships and fierce independence more. Dolly and her father also have a home that is completely paid off. With that being said, she does mention that even if you have to join the rat race to pay off your home, do it as quickly as possible and then come back to the “possum life”.
If you want to see how people in the 1970’s were just as crazy as people nowadays, or see how nothing has changed in the past 50 years, then read this book. It is really interesting. This book is very important in the homesteading community from what I’ve heard, so you probably should read it.
Overall: 3.25 out of 5. I found myself very annoyed with Dolly sometimes, but also enlightened by her. I have mixed feelings about the book itself. I did skip whole chapters because I don’t plan to eat cats or make moonshine.
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