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Book Review Contest Winners!

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It was such a close contest, but Lisa K (paxregina) is this week’s winner of our Book Review Contest! All of the finalists got a Book Credit and Lisa will get a NEW book from her Wish List. Congratulations!

Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar
Winning Review by Lisa K (paxregina)

You might think, “what could be bad about young people being frugal, living lightly on the land, growing their own vegetables, sewing their own clothes, making their own laundry soap, and homeschooling their children?” On the surface it does seem idyllic, and I myself have fallen for many a blog describing such a romantic life in the country. But once Matchar runs this trend through the prism of gender and class, and puts it under a social and political lens, a more nuanced truth emerges. She gives the DIY (or New Domesticity) movement props for valuing creativity over consumption, for having a concern for the environment and putting an emphasis on family, but she makes a very convincing argument that there can be a downside if we aren’t careful to put things in perspective. The dangers include that of hyper individualism which can lead to problems such as the anti-vaccine movement has caused, as well a neglecting of collective political action. If you are homeschooling your children, why fight for better public schools? What then happens to those who can’t afford to stay home and educate their children? If you don’t trust the government to keep the food supply safe and you eat only local and organic foods that’s great, but what about those who can’t? And the fact that the movement is overwhelmingly female threatens to reinforce old gender stereotypes, disenfranchise men and potentially leave women vulnerable later in their lives. How will these young women, who are now content to knit sweaters for their toddlers, feel when their children are grown? And if they are dependant on a husband’s salary, what will happen if he dies unexpectedly or they get divorced? Rejecting and demonizing the entire workforce may demoralize women who do have careers and it’s not going to help make it a more hospitable place for mothers who have no choice but to work.

When faced with the increasing stress of modern life wanting to return to a simpler life is completely understandable, but there is a danger in romanticizing the past. Women learning the crafts of running a home should not underestimate the importance of financial independence. Being able to make jam and sew your children’s clothes is no replacement for the ability to financially support your family if you should need to.

I’m sure many people will take offense at this book and that’s too bad, because I think it’s very evenhanded and fair and it is a book that needed to be written. Young women disillusioned with the workforce that are thinking of choosing this path should do so with their eyes wide open–read this book.

You can enter the Book Review Contest yourself, by reviewing a book and sharing the review to Facebook.
Read details here:http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_item.php?id=699

Stay tuned for this week’s finalists!

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