Possum Living

Possum Living

How to Live Well Without A Job and With (almost) No Money

Book - 2010
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In the late seventies, at the age of eighteen and with a seventh-grade education, Dolly Freed wrote Possum Livingabout the five years she and her father lived off the land on a half-acre lot outside of Philadelphia. At the time of its publication in 1978, Possum Living became an instant classic, known for its plucky narration and no-nonsense practical advice on how to quit the rat race and live frugally. In her delightful, straightforward, and irreverent style, Freed guides readers on how to buy and maintain a home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, save money, and be lazy, proud, miserly, and honest, all while enjoying leisure and keeping up a middle-class façade. Thirty years later, Freed's philosophy is world-renowned andPossum Living remains as fascinating, inspirational, and pertinent as it was upon its original publication. This updated edition includes new reflections, insights, and life lessons from an older and wiser Dolly Freed, whose knowledge of how to live like a possum has given her financial security and the confidence to try new ventures.
Publisher: Portland, Or. : Tin House Books, 2010, c1978
Edition: Tin House Books ed
ISBN: 9780982053935
0982053932
Branch Call Number: HQ2039.U6 F7 2010
Characteristics: 218 p. ; 22 cm

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dnk
Feb 04, 2018

The author at 18 outlined the life she and her father lived on a small amount of money, even for the late 70s. She goes into great detail about buying a home inexpensively ("fixer-upper" is an understatement), raising and slaughtering animals for food, gardening, food shopping, transportation and even making your own drinking alcohol.

It made me seethe with frustration to read someone from 1978 grouse about the healthcare industry, farming and energy. Not only have conditions not improved since then, they have arguably gotten worse and/or more serious. I suspect this is much of the reason books like "Possum Living" are being revisited.

But I heartily disagree with her on a few things. Wjhile I agree that as a whole our nation has put too much faith in medical professionals, access to doctors- and dentists!- is a good thing, and I would never advise my children to stay far away from them. Also, while she now disavows her chapter on the law and her advice to employ intimidation, such advice is in keeping with her attitude that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. While I'll grant that this might be the case many times, building zoning, hunting, fishing and even licensing for electrical work can unwitting affect other people.

We do not need as much as we have been told we do, and everyone- even those of us paying off a multi-year mortgage- can get by with much, much less. This provides, if not a how-to guide to closely follow, inspiration to get to less.

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