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Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living Paperback – March 24, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memoir of mishaps and lessons learned, Fine shares his yearlong trek to turn his newly bought New Mexico ranch into a green and sustainable environment with as little carbon fuel as possible. From using two very lovable goats for his organic food production to transitioning into a biofuel engine for his truck and even installing solar panels, Fine balances the troubling decisions Americans must consider while also revealing a host of unexpected benefits. He advocates that a gradual process, despite having to deal with moments of hypocrisy, is essential for it to work. Fine's wry narration blends well with his often humorous and sarcastic tone. The energy and enthusiasm of his reading indicates that Fine not only relished the events but is happy to share his experience with listeners. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 7).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

DOUG FINE, a contributor to NPR and Public Radio International, has reported from remote perches in Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala, and Tajikistan. He is the author of Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man, and lives in southern New Mexico.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812977890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812977899
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After college, Doug Fine strapped on a backpack and traveled to five continents, reporting from remote forests and war zones in Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala and Tajikistan. He has filed radio work for NPR and PRI and is the author of Too High to Fail, Farewell, My Subaru and Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man. His print work has appeared in The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, U.S. News and World Report, The Christian Science Monitor and Outside. Fine lives in a remote valley in New Mexico among a few goats and many coyotes. Visit him online at www.dougfine.com. Fine enjoys hiking, running, kayaking, shamanistic drumming, dancing, gardening, siestas, Peter Sellers movies, hot springs, massages, reading and staying alive. He is not quite competent at the saxophone, though he can catch a mean salmon.

Customer Reviews

This book was very easy to read.
PT Ben
Hopefully everyone that has the chance to read this book will make one small change.
todd shaffer
Doug Fine did an amazing job at hooking me with his first words of this great book.
Marla Saunders

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Cleves on March 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I started Doug Fine's fun book at about 5:00 PM yesterday and finished it by bedtime while also cooking supper, bathing two children and having several meaningful conversations with my wife. It's a quick read, and better for it. I have read a couple of other books in the "What I did for year to help mother earth" genre of books and this one ranks up with Barbara Kingsolvers "Animal, Vegetable and Miracle."

Doug settles down in an isolated valley in New Mexico and begins his adventures in sustainable living by purchasing some goats on Craig's List, replacing the said Subaru of the title with a F250 vegetable oil powered diesel truck, and going substantially off-grid.

On the way we meet some interesting characters, hear a bit too much about Doug's libido and get some practical advice on living the good life. But don't buy this book if you are looking for a step-by-step instruction on how to set up a eco-friendly homestead. Instead Farewell, My Subaru offers a few recipes, some web site links to get more information, and a good deal of evidence that going through life with good karma really pays off.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Jackson on March 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book was so entertaining and motivational that I ended up purchasing the audio book as well to accompany me on my morning commute. I finished it in a little less than 3 days and was sad to have it end. Much of what Doug spoke about are things I've thought about trying or things I've been putting off, but hearing his experiences and the hurdles he went through and the obstacles he overcame made me a little more confident and has motivated me to continue trying to increase the green in my life. Not only is this a good introduction of how to add more green into your life and perspective, it's a hilarious story that will keep you smiling throughout.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul C on April 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just read Fine's book in an evening, the first time in my life I've read a book straight through without closing it once. FANTASTIC stuff. An informative and entertaining read -- Fine's eco-lifestyle spreads it's influence far and wide!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By todd shaffer on March 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I think this is a great book. It touches on many ideas and all in a humorous way. He pulls not punches and he discusses his success and failures. Hopefully everyone that has the chance to read this book will make one small change. We don't have to go whole hog like Doug. But every little step Helps.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Peter E. Kowalewski on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Like many of the others who have posted reviews, I was unable to stop reading this book once I opened it (even with three kids running around the house). Doug communicates his successes and failures at turning his ranch into a "carbon-neutral location" very well, often injecting humor into the whole process. The book is not a "how to" for becoming "self-sustaining" but provides factual information, on-line resources, as well as some great recipes to try out...I would highly recommend this book as well as Doug's previous book (Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not that long ago, journalist and New York native Doug Fine was ready to do green. He vowed to use as little fossil fuel as possible, power his life by renewable energy, eat as locally as possible and not get himself killed in the process. "Farewell, My Subaru" is his account of making the leap. He's still alive but it hasn't been easy. For every two steps forward, there was a step backward.

He bought a ranch in sunny, remote rural southwestern New Mexico intent on converting to solar energy, which he did. But he also learns how expensive the components are, that pipes must be soldered with a toxic purple brew that can't be environmentally friendly, that batteries are made with lead and present a disposal problem at the end of their lives, and, interestingly, extreme hot weather can work against, not with, the efficiency of solar panels. He buys a new ROAT--Ridiculously Oversized American Truck--because it has a diesel engine that can run on vegetable oil from fast food restaurants. The ink wasn't dry on the bill of sale before he was informed that the Big 3 automaker would cancel its warranty if any product but Big Oil's was put in the tank. Nonetheless he persevered in some cholesterol-ridden adventures while negotiating for the restaurant grease that has left him emitting Kung Po chicken fumes wherever he goes. He also found that dairy goats do not observe human boundaries, and neither do rattlesnakes or coyotes.

Fine gets beat up a lot because he possesses that English major capacity to mentally check out when the instructions get too technical. That said, this eternal optimist is still ahead at the end of the book, a breezy account that can be read in a night or two. He mines the slapstick and irony for all it is worth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Craigmyle on April 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I loved reading "Farewell, My Subaru" and am pretty sure my husband immediately picked up when I finished. I recommended the book to several friends hours after finishing the book.

Doug Fine does a great job in relaying the first year of his adventures in living a greener life. The one suggestion I have for future editions is to put a reference for the boxed facts interspersed throughout the book.

I look forward to reading more of Doug's adventures!
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