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Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money

Mixed feelings about this one. It’s a reissue of a 1980’s classic in which Dolly Freed, homeschooled girl living outside of Philadelphia, talks about how she and her dad live more or less off the wage-slave grid, raising their own animals for food and growing most of their own vegetables. There’s something really captivating about it in its own way - living without a job! the good life! -- and at the same time it just seems a little weird. There is an entire chapter (later recanted by the author in this reissue) about how to “convince” people of things, mostly by going to their house late at night and scaring them. There is also an awful lot of space dedicated to how to distill your own liquor. Which, hey, to each their own and maybe I’m just a fussy prude, but with the added afterword by the author about how her father eventually drank himself pretty much to death, the book seemed framed in a fairly different way.

There is a lot of lip service given to how you just need to want to do something and you can do it when they discuss going without health insurance and how Dolly eventually got a job at NASA, but her adult self is a lot more mellow and forgiving about things. People who are interested in this particular book and Dolly Freed in particular should check out some of the meta-information that’s available about this book including this documentary short and this longer article.