Sunday, June 17, 2012

Possum Living Book Review

Several people had recommended a book to me called Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money.  It was written in 1978 by a 18 year old who goes by the name Dolly Freed. It is about how she and her father lived with no "real" job between them in a house they bought for cash. Their living expenses were just a couple of hundred dollars each year and they covered those by doing the rare odd job for money. They raised their own meat, had a huge garden, did not own a car, etc. in order to accomplish such frugal living.

In reading Dolly's book, I had the experience that many of my readers may have had when they first came across my blog: "How can they live on so little? Are they crazy?" If you thought I was extreme, you won't believe some of Dolly's advice!

Possum Living  has a lot of information in it that I was unable/uninterested in applying to my own life. For example, Dolly raised and killed her own meat. She goes into very specific detail about how to kill and skin rabbits and other animals. Since I don't eat meat, this didn't interest me much. The other thing Dolly talked about that didn't apply to me was distilling her own alcohol. I have no need to make hard liquor and my understanding was that it is illegal to do so. However, if you are someone who is interested in these things, Dolly's level of detail about them would be helpful indeed.

Having mentioned the things that didn't apply to me, I can honestly still say I enjoyed the book. I agreed with Dolly's frugally philosophies almost entirely. I liked how she understood the importance of not spending money, even at a young age. I was inspired her story and it opened me up to the possibility that even if I lost my job, I might still be able to etch out a way of survival for myself and my family. For me, that was a  really, really empowering!

Here are my favorite quotes from the book and good examples of Dolly's way of thinking:

"It’s easier to learn to do without some of the things that money can buy than to earn the money to buy them." (p. 32)

"Television is like a loud salesman in your living room. Sometimes he's interesting, frequently he's embarrassing, and always he's trying to sell you stuff." (p.213-214)

"Many people . . .won't raise their own meat. But someone had to kill the animals you buy in the store. People who will buy meat but won't kill their own are being hypocritical, its seems to me. If you're not a vegetarian, kill your own meat--don't hire someone else to do it." (p. 41)

Thanks to the author of the book for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a review on my website.

What's your favorite frugal living book? Do you have a book about extreme frugality that you'd like me to review?

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