From Publishers Weekly
Powers (Blue Clay People
) refers to wildcrafters, people who shape their inner and outer worlds to the flow of nature, as heroes. Among these wildcrafters is Dr. Jackie Benton, a physician who lives in a 12'×12' dwelling in the midst of 30 acres on No Name Creek in rural North Carolina. Benton lives a sustainable life off the grid by raising honeybees, growing her own vegetables and preserving them, and harvesting what she might need from the woods around her. As Powers points out, Benton seems to have achieved self-mastery in these confusing times, and his initial meeting with her is a search for clues to this self-mastery. After the two meet, Benton's sobering and often hilarious (taking showers in rain water warmed by the sun, learning that in order to eat chicken for dinner, he himself would have to kill a chicken given to him by his neighbors) narrative of his life in the 12'×12' offers precious insights into the ways that all individuals living in a fast-paced consumer culture might incorporate different ways of thinking about the natural world into their lives. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Take four giant steps forward. Turn right; do it again. Turn right again; repeat. Right; repeat. Now imagine living in a space roughly the size of the area just paced off. Without electricity or running water. In the middle of nowhere. Having recently returned from years in the Bolivian rain forest, environmental activist Powers experienced a nearly debilitating form of culture shock upon his reentry into the heart of American consumerism. His salvation came from ardent permaculturist Dr. Jackie Benton, who offered Powers the use of her spartan cabin in rural North Carolina. Living among other “wildcrafters”—organic farmers, furniture artisans, and eco-developers—Powers learned firsthand what it means to be self-sufficient in the midst of a nation that profligately squanders its resources and looks askance at those who choose to live deliberately. While there are no easy answers to be found in such an extreme experiment, Powers’ eloquent memoir reveals the breadth of this conflict and the depth of one man’s commitment to himself and his community. --Carol Haggas