Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir - Williams

Title:The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
Author: Dee Williams
Published: 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: I received this book through Netgalley, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Environmentalism
What Its About:  
Dee Williams was an average (though handy) single woman making her way in life.  She had a good job and eventually bought a home, which she shared with roommates. Though she spent many days working on the fixer-upper, it felt it must be a labor of love and that she was "happy enough".

Then, one day, life changed completely. After suffering a heartache, Williams was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, or congestive heart failure. In her early forties, Williams looked around and saw her lovely home, wealth of possessions (for which she felt vaguely guilty, given a trip to a third world country where they had very little), and her list of needs to upkeep such a lifestyle and decided that "happy enough" wasn't enough.

She decided to downsize, her home and her life. She undertook the process of building an 84 square foot home (small enough meet legal guidelines for travel on highways) and reduced her needs - and wants - to enable life within that space. What she found was that it didn't really matter what she had, but what she was doing with her time and who she did it with, that mattered and there really is no place like home, even if that home is smaller than a typical parking spot, with a compost toilet and solar power.

The Bottom Line:
What a wonderful read this was. Who has never looked around their home and wondered why all "this stuff" is necessary? Who has never dreamed of removing the stress and worry of working full time and paying mortgage/rent, utilities bills, and keeping up with "the Jones"?  Dee Williams, though pushed by her health issues, took that leap and changed her life toward what she still perceives as the better.

She admits to having difficulty talking about her health and personal issues. And, though I realize that the book is more about the changes in her life, and not the fear of her health situation, I would have liked to hear a more about the emotional process she worked through to make the decisions she did. The book is relatively short, about 200 pages, so there was certainly space.  Otherwise, well written and engrossing. The story of her path is amazing.