Thursday, May 24, 2012

MADE FOR YOU AND ME by Caitlin Shetterly


A young couple's memoir of going west to chase the American dream, only to find themselves going broke in a devastating economy.


Shetterly and her husband Dan are newly married when they decide to move to California from Maine. They pack up all of their possessions and leave all their family ties behind, just like the Ingalls family in the Little House on the Prairie series. They drive across the country, chasing the big dream of making it in the West. When they arrive, they become unexpectedly pregnant and unexpectedly victim to a wicked economy. Their dreams and bank balances disintegrate around them, and they have to find a way to survive.

This is a beautiful story about a young family trying to make it in America. It manages to capture the spirit of the recession like no other piece I've read so far. Shetterly and Dan are college-educated professionals, yet they can't even get jobs as bartenders and cashiers because they are competing against hundreds of others for every vacancy. She taps into the attitude of disbelief amongst Americans that things could get this bad. There's a heavy dose of anxiety and stress in this story, and rightfully so, but Shetterly maintains an uplifting message about perseverance, family, and the beauty of the country.

Shetterly's writing style is rich with imagery that instantly brought me back to the many American road trips I've taken. She establishes a true sense of place through the tastes, smells and sights with just a few words and makes you want her journey to continue. She writes with a raw, resonating honesty. Their story may not be uncommon in the current economic climate in the West, but this account is a uniquely poignant snapshot of recession-era America.


Cait and Dan Go West Blog


I received a beautiful signed copy of this book from Susan Blumberg-Kason during her visit to Hong Kong.


Do you approach your dreams differently in a tough economy? How has the recession affected you?

Note: Don't forget that my e-book THE OLYMPICS BEAT: A SPECTATOR'S MEMOIR OF BEIJING launches on Sunday!


  1. Oh, I'm so glad you loved this book! I thought it would resonate because you also write about a first year in a new place that doesn't go as planned. Plus, I also thought she did an excellent job, as you wrote above, with describing the different places they lived and passed through.

    During this recession I've noticed that freelance editing jobs pay half of what they paid 12 years ago. And there aren't too many of these jobs available, whereas a decade ago they were easy to come by. People also say that the publishing field in general has never been in worse shape, but I try to stay optimistic, and hope that books about China and Hong Kong continue to generate interest for years to come.

    1. Thanks again Susan. I really felt like I connected with this book, and I think a lot of different types of people will feel the same way. She really taps into the experiences of lots of people around the country during this time.

      I'm glad you're staying optimistic about the publishing industry. The good news is that China and HK are doing very well compared to the West, and I think people will be looking to understand them more. Your book is coming at just the right time.

    2. Thanks for the kind words. As the economy in the US shows no sign of rapid improvement, I'm sure many recent college grads will look to Asia for their future. So your memoir is very timely, too!!


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