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Book Review: Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture


Read it! Read it! Read it!

Okay, so now you know how I really feel, here's the review: Shannon Hayes, a woman in academia with numerous degrees suddenly gave it all up to start her life over for the things that mattered: family, community, quality of life, social justice, etc. This is a three part story. One, the personal story of why she re-thought the values of the American culture, two, lots of statistics and research and studies spouting off quotes from Emerson all the way to top economists talking about America's quality of life (poor) and back again to the definition of wealth and poverty. Lastly, the story of twenty interviewed "Radical Homemakers" she inserts here and there throughout the nonfiction work.
I think I read this book in 5 days...only because I was distracted numerous times during those five days.
I kept agreeing and making Stefan listen to a quote, a statistic, what have you, and I was consumed by her well articulated and witty writing. Of course, Mrs. Hayes, you're preaching to the choir with me, since we have long said we'd cap our income, give the rest away, and life a simple life in order to have a better quality of life. "Make do and mend" is one of my favorite quotes, but consumer culture can enslave people without their knowing until it's too late. People are now aware, after the economic meltdown of 2008, that "keeping up with the Joneses" is busy, exhausting, and impossible work.
Cut down your hours, live off less, engage in your own life with the things you love, barter, get involved with your community, make things for mental, emotional, and physical well-being, find your creative outlet and for heaven's sake don't let yourself feel guilty to get decent rest!
Preach it, sister. This surprising feminist does hit a lot of key notes in why our specific family does what we do so of course I liked it, though one thing at the beginning of the book I found a tad insulting and judgemental. I'll let you find it on your own time; I give this 5 stars!
Check out the website for more info.


kylee said…
Firstly, I just wanted to say that I have long admired your choice to live a simple life. It is a personal struggle for me to not get caught up in the materialism of our culture, but I feel that I've made tremendous strides. Being in a two-income family can make it difficult to stop and think about what I'm spending and why. I'd love for my children to be able to appreciate the truly great things in life, so I must lead by example as you do.

I will definitely add this to my must-read list, as it sounds like it will provide great insight into how you do what you do!
oobbles said…
Already on my list! Another member of the choir here- so I'm sure I'll enjoy it!

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