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Book Review: Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

September 28, 2010

About two years back, I purchased Shannon Hayes’ Grassfed Gourmet cookbook. I read it as I would a regular book, savouring the information about the different cuts of meat, and the people who raise it. I went to her website, which mentioned a forthcoming book on the subject of homemaking, and I signed up to be notified when the book was published.

When I got an email notification of the book’s publication, I went to my local public library’s website, and requested the book immediately. To my dismay, I seemed to be a latecomer to the group of interested readers in my city: there were about 50 people ahead of me in line to read the book! So, I decided to purchase a copy for myself. I read it in a day and a half. I couldn’t put it down. It was so interesting and well written that I thought I would share a little about it here.

The theme of the book is about moving from an extractive to a life-serving economy. The first half of the book delves into this idea on a conceptual level, while the second half explores the lives of real people who have put this idea into practice in their own lives. Couples, singles, urbanites and rural homesteaders are featured, and while their life stories and circumstances differ vastly, they all share a commitment to the idea that domesticity is a sort of bliss, and a privilege, as opposed to a form of drudgery from which we must be saved by a culture of consumerism. I found their stories and ideals inspiring. I highly recommend checking out the book if you have any interest in the growing movement to re-connect with our food sources and simpler ways of living!

Many of the people in the book began their radical homemaking journeys when they read the classic Your Money or Your Life by Robin and Dominguez. I read that book next. And then I read Getting a Life, which explores the lives of people who have implemented the philosophy that there is so much more to life than the things we work so hard to acquire.

All of these books have me thinking: how can we do more to live on less? In what ways are we blind to waste in our home? If we can further stretch what we have, how much better off will we be? At what point does this task take more energy than it gives back? What are your thoughts? Have you read any of these books?

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