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!