Synopses & Reviews
In the late seventies, at the age of eighteen and with a seventh-grade education, Dolly Freed wrote Possum Living
about the five years she and her father lived off the land on a half-acre lot outside of Philadelphia. At the time of its publication in 1978, Possum Living
became an instant classic, known for its plucky narration and no-nonsense practical advice on how to quit the rat race and live frugally. In her delightful, straightforward, and irreverent style, Freed guides readers on how to buy and maintain a home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, save money, and be lazy, proud, miserly, and honest, all while enjoying leisure and keeping up a middle-class façade.
Thirty years later, Freed's philosophy is world-renowned and Possum Living remains as fascinating, inspirational, and pertinent as it was upon its original publication. This updated edition includes new reflections, insights, and life lessons from an older and wiser Dolly Freed, whose knowledge of how to live like a possum has given her financial security and the confidence to try new ventures.
Dolly Freed is my hero
.[If] this smart, engaging, funny, and frank manifesto
doesnt make you want to quit the rat race at least a little bit, then you must be one big, fat rat.”
[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]heres 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.”
An elegant memoir”
--Philadelphia City Paper
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 doneed 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.
After being out of print for decades, Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and (Almost) No Money is being reissued with an afterword by an older and wiser Dolly Freed.
About the Author
Following her success as an author, Dolly Freed grew up to be a NASA aerospace engineer. She put herself through college after she aced the SATs with an education she received from the public library. She has also been an environmental educator, business owner, and college professor. She lives in Texas with her husband and two children.