A graceful, inspired memoir about building a home from scratch and discovering a true sense of self - in just eighty-four square feet - by Dee Williams, a pioneer in sustainable living and the proud owner of a very tiny house.
After a heart condition felled Dee Williams in the grocery store ten years ago, she initially threw herself headfirst back into her old life, which included a pricey three-bedroom house, overtime hours to cover homeowner bills, and a general lack of free time. In the midst of contemplating her future, a new sense of clarity took hold. What was all this stuff for? Mortgage payments and the time-suck of homeownership felt like a waste, and no one has the money or desire to pack it in and live on an island without family, friends, or health insurance.
Discovering the sustainability movement and building her own house was just the beginning of building a new life. Williams can now list everything she owns on one sheet of paper, her monthly bills amount to about eight dollars, and it takes her ten minutes to clean the entire house. It's allowed her to slow down, scale back, spend more time with family and friends - and given her the freedom to head out for adventure, or watch the clouds and sunset while drinking a beer on her (yes, tiny) front porch. Without escaping to the wilds or going off the grid, Williams achieved a happy balance of the normal and the radical and created a new model for simple, practical living. Part how-to and part why-to, The Big Tiny is not just a memoir of that "aha" moment post-trauma but an utterly seductive meditation on what it means to build the good life and the right life, every day.
©2014 Dee Williams (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Having wondered what it would be like to live in a tiny house, I found the author's story fascinating!
Reading this book left me with the desire to scale down, declutter, and live a less fettered existence.
The courage of the author is inspiring. The book is well organized and the tone is both vulnerable and humorous. I enjoyed this short tale.
I sincerely appreciated the author's frankness, opening up in a very real way with her writing. I feel as though I have met her, spent time with her, and gotten to know her. There's a genuineness with a little grandiosity about sky viewings. I learned about what drove her to her tiny house life.
I think the narrator sounds like a truly kind person, but I don't like her voice. I wish I did. She works at her craft. She sounds like she really invests in her stories and narrations, but there's too much energy for me. It actually takes away from the reading for me.
Her description helped me see that I'm not going to be comfortable with less than 400 sq ft living space. That was invaluable, and now I can drop my tiny plans and think small, just not tiny. The least interesting part was how the author goes on and on and on about the sky gazing, but then I might do so if I had a skylight over my bed.
professional, energetic, excessive
This book is more than just about a tiny house. It is about relationships, community, home, changing life styles and habits, and facing mortality. I enjoyed the story and the author's honesty.
I would have preferred less memoir and more tiny house information. The author's story was interesting but the book included precious little about actually building and owning a tiny house.
Excellent performance Interesting topic but more of a general memoir than house based story. Author does not follow through on how her life changes when situation with neighbor changed .
I am almost surprised I enjoyed the book as much as I did. The narration was great and story, one of a time of self discovery, was written warm and casual sense that made it quite inviting and relatable. It was easy to get sucked into the excitement of the little project and I found myself laughing audibly more often than I should have. Must be that Midwestern farm humor that I share a part in.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (memoir) - I saw Dee Williams and her tiny house on a morning talk show as I was dressing for work, and her story intrigued me. Plagued with a failing heart, she decided to simplify her life so she can work less and enjoy more. Sounds good to me! But Dee goes to the extreme - with the help of friends, she builds a tiny house. It's only 86 square feet, with just a tiny kitchen, a composting toilet and a tiny "great room." The house is built on a trailer, so it's not as wide as a lane of traffic, and it's parked in a friend's back yard. She sleeps in a loft above the kitchen. She has no running water, so she fills a bucket with her friend's hose every day, and she showers at work. Her wardrobe consists of two pair of jeans and a dress.
Sound crazy? Kinda. But think about it...she owns her house outright and has NO BILLS!! Nada. Zip. I couldn't go to the extreme she has and I wouldn't even think about building a house myself, but the book does make me think how much more time I'd have if we downsized and lived more reasonably. Anyway, the book is interesting and kind of fun. My biggest complaint is there's too much about Dee. It's a personal memoir, after all, so it's full of her life before she decided to build the house, silly stories, her friends, her dog...but the parts where she's building and living in her tiny house made the book worthwhile.
PERFORMANCE - The reader has a nice voice and does a good job. No complaints, but nothing great about it either.
OVERALL - There's no sex or violence in the book but Dee likes to use the F-bomb when she gets upset, which happens several times over the course of her story. I'd recommend the story for anyone interested in building a tiny house, or for people like me who find her story interesting.
Williams has written an endearing narrative of her mid life experiences of downsizing and building a tiny house. Her sense of humor is marvelous! Loved it!
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