In today's volatile economy, I think there is a great many of us who would like to sell it all, downsize, and relocate to an area where we can practice more sustainable living. We long for the simpler life of Ma and Pa Ingalls where our greatest concerns involve our daily care and the care of our neighbors (who actually lived a couple miles down the dirt road). Many years ago Franklin Sanders and his family decided to do just that. In the wake of Y2K, and the fear associated with it, Sanders packed up his family and moved to Dogwood Mudhole to pursue their dream of owning their own farm, taking care of their own needs, and focusing on the family unit. He has written his journey in a 3-part series of books called At Home in Dogwood Mudhole. At the Crew, we were given the opportunity to review either the paperback or digital format of Volume 1 in the Series: Nothing That Eats.
Mr. Sanders' book is written in a diary format, taken from letters to subscribers of his long-running monthly newsletter The Moneychanger. The entries of Nothing That Eats follow his family through the first seven years of their journey to sustainability and authentic living. The family has a great passion for the Civil War era and many of the members participate in re-enactments. The journal entries cover the lessons learned in the re-enactments as well as the lessons learned in real life. Sanders gives many pearls of wisdom from their journey.
Many of Mr. Sanders' thoughts throughout the book gave me pause, such as: "I realized 'busy' is usually a smokescreen for my own procrastination, or my real priorities, usually misplaced" (page 10). And the lessons from his dogs, Jack, Scruffy, and Sparky, about unconditional love, made me look at my pups and myself just a little differently. I love them, but I don't often enough consider how much they love me, and without my deserving it. Sanders also included a strong reference to his faith throughout the book.
Another cool aspect of the book is that Mr. Sanders includes addresses and telephone numbers of much-loved businesses of which he and his family have been patrons. There are restaurants, markets, museums and more located through his local area.
Although the premise behind the book was enticing, and the tidbits throughout where thought-provoking and, oftentimes, sweet, I actually had a little trouble reading it. As it was written in the form of journal entries, and they didn't appear to be edited for ease in reading, they felt a little disjointed and all over the place. The book didn't flow from entry-to-entry. The book didn't turn out to be what I was expecting, so I had trouble following along. I didn't really enjoy all of the Civil War re-enactment emphasis, even though I do enjoy some good stories about the Civil War. As the book is the first volume in a 3-volume series, it didn't "end". It just "stopped". But, I didn't enjoy it enough to move on to purchase the next volume.
I hate writing reviews where I don't give a "two thumbs up", especially when it's because I just didn't care for the content of the story or the style of writing. Because, many more people would love the content of the story, especially if interested in the Civil War era, and the style of writing might be exactly what engages another reader. For that reason, I encourage you to read the other review of fellow Crew members at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
You can also read a sample chapter of Nothing That Eats called "Pig Persuader" by going to THIS link.
Nothing That Eats from the At Home in Dogwood Mudhole series, by Franklin Sanders, can be purchased in paperback format for $22.95 and in Kindle/ePub/PDF format for $16.95. The book is 379 pages and would be good for any older teenager or adult. The next book in the series, Best Thing We Ever Did is also available for purchase. Paperback formats are available for shipping beginning November 15th. The PDF version is available for immediate download. The Kindle and ePub versions will be available at the end of November. Want to continue to follow these entries from Franklin Sanders? Then you can subscribe to The Moneychanger, his monthly newsletter, and read the "Dear Reader" column. (I have not read The Moneychanger so am not in a position to endorse it.)