Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream by William Powers
Okay, so I got this thinking I'd be reading a book about a mans year long stay in a off the grid 12' x 12' cabin nestled in the woods. Well, it is kinda about that but well, not really.
See this is mostly the authors thoughts about all sorts of stuff. He can be very boring and sometimes really managed to anger me. At other times he had some very good points.
First there is something very relaxing, freeing and soothing about the idea of living 12' x 12' (it's a big part of why I ended up living where I do). Imagine having so much less to be responsible for, to have to pay for, to have to maintain. To live so simple and rich. A goal to have less so you can have more.
Second, the author spends most of the book dwelling on the past. It's more like he wrote this book as a form of therapy for himself. His past has interesting points but he is a bit of a whiner. Very annoying. I was dealing with all of this until I got to chapter 10 titled 'White'. Now if you are white, you are privileged and unaware of your special privileges and oblivious to the suffering of minorities especially African Americans. You had slaves (you did, you know you did, don't deny it, you are white). You whites are bad news. Never mind that this country tore itself in half to fight for the freedom of those in slavery. Americans killed each other so the slaves could be free. That is a powerful thing that for some reason is not recognized in this country. Not only that, our citizens elected a African American man as the president of these United States. Or how about how the black man was given the right to vote before women of any color? Women were still considered property long after freedom was fought and won for the African American male. Where is all this white privilege and racism today? I just don't see it. Also we shouldn't forget that the African government sold their own people into slavery. Last I checked, the African government wasn't lilly white. We also should remember that whites were slaves too. The past is the past. In this increasingly torn apart country, we will never move forward if we keep looking into the past.
Enough is enough.
No one in my family had slaves. No one in my family was wealthy. I believe that some in my family were indentured servants aka slaves. No one in my "privileged white" family runs around saying how they were wronged for crimes of the long ago past. It's the past, you move forward or you stagnate. What we do now in the present is what counts.
Now that I got that off of my chest, the cabin is on two acres and it's not deep in the woods. There is a nasty chicken factory (chicken factory think about that, it's wrong on so many levels). Sometimes the author gets to smell the poor abused animals stench. 12 x 12 has neighbors too, it's not as secluded as the title would have you think. The parts about the neighbors and the authors trips on foot and bike when he explores are interesting.
The most interesting character is the one we don't know a whole heck of a lot about. The owner of 12 x 12. She is a doctor and what little is provided about her life sounds fascinating. I'd love to read more about her rather than this author. Get this, she is totally about peace and helping others, living on less, etc. Yet her father was a Ku Klux Clan member. She is the polar opposite of him. The author for some reason has difficulty with the fact that she is not her father. It takes him a while to work this out within himself... That to me says a lot about his character or lack thereof.
Last the back of the book gives some resources for better living. It's about two pages and has some good sites to explore.
Bottom line: I don't recommend this book unless you are looking to dump some hate on yourself for being white or if you want to add to your anger towards white folks if you are not white. And really folks, do we need anymore negativity in our lives? I think not.
United we stand, divided we fall.
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