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Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar

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If you're on Pinterest, you are probably well-aware of the growing trend for do-it-yourself projects. For some, DIY is a hobby, but others have made it into a way of living. In her new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, Emily Matchar explores the reason why many young people, especially women, are trading in power suits for backyard chickens, vegetable gardens, home-sewn clothes, and canned jam.

While the women profiled in Homeward Bound share a passion for homesteading, local eating, natural childcare, and crafting, they are as varied as heirloom tomatoes. Some see the return to domesticity as a re-appropriation of "women's work"--a feminist move to return home arts to a respected skill and indicator of self-sufficiency. Others see this "new domesticity" as a return to the nurturing role that women were born to play. Some of the women were motivated to go off-the-grid by a lack of family-friendly workplaces while others simply could not find full-time work, wanted to control their access to healthy food, or wanted to reduce their carbon footprint.

In addition to exploring the multifaceted causes of the self-sufficiency movement, Matchar outlines how the modern homesteading experience differs from that of colonial women and 1950s housewives. Modern domestic goddesses increasingly take part in a blog community that connects them with likeminded individuals. Gone are the days of the isolated homemaker, as many women join the blogging community to share tips, tricks, best practices, and recipes.

Matchar explores the trend with a congenial tone, admitting her own reservations as well as her admiration for the women she researches. This book was an interesting read that challenged me to think critically about my own burgeoning interest in domestic arts.

Shannon @ Center Street


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