03 January 2010

What the world needs now is... more possums

I just re-read the book Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (almost) No Money again this morning and I think I will do it every year or so until I have it memorized and then I will read it just for fun. Dolly Freed, who was in her late teens when she wrote the book in 1976 or so, seems to have an amazing knack for distilling (literally and figuratively) the essence of what is necessary for a good and reasonable life. And the secret is: just have a little stuff and be happy with it, be suspicious of experts, feel secure based on your own abilities rather than your bank balance and have some moonshine if you wish. I've made it sound rather dry, but Dolly's version is smart and funny and I encourage you to read it yourself.

Dolly left school in grade 7 long before there were homeschoolers or unschoolers on every block. She doesn't seem to suffer from the angst that most teen unschoolers I know experience. The feeling that they should be doing more or accomplishing something or becoming Somebody. I would strongly recommend this book to any teenager, in school or not.

If you've ever snuck a peak at my site meter at the bottom of the page, you'll find that visitors to the Shack are a very select group of web surfers. Recently, more than half of them are here because they did a google search for Dolly Freed or Possum Living or some combination thereof. I'm not sure if there has been some media attention given to Dolly recently because of the re-release of her book this month, but my old post "I Love You Dolly Freed" is the most popular post on my blog. I've got links there to a couple of videos and the answer to whatever became of Dolly Freed (it's probably not what you think). It's encouraging to see that there are so many aspiring possums out there.

Members of the Dolly Freed fan club should check out possumliving.net for book excerpts, a couple of old newspaper clippings, the documentary and even an email address. A blog is promised.

* Update Jan. 8 - I know what became of Dolly Freed! There's a wonderful article about her which you should definitely read at www.paige-williams.com.

* Update Jan. 28 - Another interesting interview with Dolly is here. Thanks to Sara for that link.


  1. Hi! I'm sure there's been a bit more than this, but I found out about Dolly Freed from this recent article: http://www.viceland.com/int/v17n1/htdocs/live-freed-or-die-298.php/

    Also, I wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog and I really never read blogs.
    I hope you'll post more about your garden and chickens soon!
    All the best,

  2. That's a great interview - thanks!

    It's nice to get feedback on the blog. Thanks, and welcome to the shack.




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