Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Favorite Reads: See You in a Hundred Years by Logan Ward

Each week I am featuring one of my favorite reads from the past, thanks to this event hosted by At Home With Books. In February I am focussing on books related to the economy.

See You in a Hundred Years: Discover One Young Family's Search for a Simpler Life... Four Seasons of Living in the Year 1900 by Logan Ward

from the publisher:
Logan Ward and his wife, Heather, were prototypical New Yorkers circa 2000: their lives steeped in ambition, work, and stress. Feeling their souls grow numb, wanting their toddler son to see the stars at night, the Wards made a plan. They would return to their native South, find a farm, and for one year live exactly as people did in 1900 Virginia: without a car or electricity - and with only the food they could grow themselves. It was a project that would push their relationship to the brink - and illuminate stunning hardships and equally remarkable surprises.

From Logan's emotionally charged battles with Belle, the family workhorse, to Heather's daily trials with a wood-fired cooking stove and a constant siege of garden pests and cantankerous animals, the Wards were soon overwhelmed by their new life. At the same time as Logan and Heather struggled with their increasingly fragile relationship, as their son relished simple joys, the couple discovered something else: within their self-imposed time warp, they had found a community, a sense of belonging, and an appreciation both for what we've lost - and what we've gained - across a century of change.

My Thoughts:
I loved all the PBS series that inspired this book (Such as "The 1900 House") so I was eager to read it, and to my joy it turned out great. Logan and Heather have the right amount of realism and sarcasm to cut the otherwise earnest effort to go back to a "simpler" time of wood-burning stoves, a lack of refrigeration, and lots of livestock. The story zips along quickly with quirky neighbors, insane goats, and bad drivers visiting the next-door Boy Scout camp. It never feels preachy or holier-than-thou. Logan has a friendly, colloquial writing style that makes it feel like you're sitting around the fire chatting over cider.


Alyce said...

I remember the PBS series, but didn't realize that this book existed. It sounds like something I would really enjoy.

Carin Siegfried said...

Now this isn't exactly from the series, these people SAW the 1900 House series on PBS and then decided to try it on their own. Of course unlike those series they weren't trying to pretend that 2001 didn't exist - they just wanted their house to be circa 1900 and to do their reasonable best to live LIKE it was 1900. But the wife wears jeans, not dresses, that kind of thing. It's more about simplifying life than being historically accurate.