Possum Living

Possum Living

How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money

By Dolly Freed; David Gates (Foreword by)

Tin House Books, Paperback, 9780982053935, 218pp.

Publication Date: January 2010

In the 1970s Dolly Freed lived of the land dirt cheap and plum easy. Living in their own house on a half-acre lot outside of Philadelphia for almost five years, Dolly and her father produced their own food and drink and spent roughly $700 each per year. Thirty years later Dolly Freed's "Possum Living" is as fascinating and pertinent as it was in 1978. Tin House is reissuing the survivalist classic with a foreword by David Gates and an afterword by the author. After discussing reasons why you should or shouldn't give up your job, "Possum Living" gives you details about the cheapest ways with the best results to buy and maintain your home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, and keep up a middle-class facade whether you live in the city, in the suburbs, or in a small town. In a delightful, straightforward style Dolly Freed explains how to be lazy, proud, miserly, and honest, live well and enjoy leisure. She shares her knowledge for what you "do"need your own home, for example and what you "don't" need such as doctors, lawyers, and insurance. Through her own example, Dolly hopes to inspire you to do some independent thinking about how economics affect the course of your life now and may do so in the coming "age of shortages." If you ever wondered what it would be like to be in greater control of your own life, "Possum Living" will show you and help you do it for yourself.

About the Author

David Gates went to the Falklands at the age of 20 to become a teacher having had no experience or training in that profession. At that time (1968) not many people, including him, had heard of the islands. He had no idea of what awaited him. He spent three years travelling around that remote, windswept archipelago teaching, as he puts it, any children he could round up, teach them for two weeks and then go off somewhere else leaving enough homework to keep them occupied until his next visit. Most of the time he lived with the families of the children he taught. He travelled by horse, boat, floatplane, landrover and on foot. As a result he gained a unique insight into the place and its people.His previous work as a bank clerk in London's Fleet St., and as a civil servant working at The Ministry of Overseas Development prepared him only insofar as it bored him mindless enough to wish to go anywhere to get out of the rut he was in. Which was why, until he got his travel instructions, he believed he was going to somewhere off the north-west coast of Scotland and hadn't even bothered to look them up on a map.He says that the time he spent in the Falklands were the equivalent of a university education and National Service rolled into one. The experience, whilst testing, has made a lasting impression on him and his story of that time is a very personal and evocative memoir.

Praise For Possum Living

Dolly Freed is my hero.[If] this smart, engaging, funny, and frank manifestodoesn’t make you want to quit the rat race at least a little bit, then you must be one big, fat rat.”
--Vice Magazine

Compulsively readable[In]this strange, engaging hymn to the laid-back life now, in 2010, one message comes out loud and clear. As the 18-year-old sage Dolly Freed wrote: I refuse to spend the first 60 years of my life worrying about the last 20.’”
--New York Times Art Beat

Dolly is a sharp writer, an autodidact and an 18-year-old of unusual competence and grit[T]here’s nothing precious about Possum Living: it's genuine in a way few books are,”

this book will not only make you laugh but might actually inspire you to embrace a simpler life.”
--Oprah Magazine

An elegant memoir”
--Philadelphia City Paper