Notes from a Blue Bike by popular blogger, Tsh Oxenreider, shares a story of living simply and living slow. She finishes the book well, ultimately concluding that “living intentionally ultimately means staying true to yourself and how your family is made.” She agrees that as we surf that web and read those blogs, we’ll see different paths and perspectives on what we need to do to live this life well. Garden this way. Cook this way. Educate your kids this way. Parent this way. We can easily get caught up in expectations and overwhelmed by failure until we simply decide what our family needs and stick with that. No more. No less.
It’s a lovely bit of grace at the conclusion of this book, but to get there she shares her own family’s experiences moving from Turkey to Austin, TX to Bend, Oregon. Her discussion of the Simple Life focuses on five areas: Food, Work, Education, Travel, Entertainment and she concludes with a section on “Revival.” Her chapters are short and easy to read. Her prose is lovely and cozy. Each chapter begins with a location and a date because it truly does jump from place to place and year to year in her journey. It’s not a start-to-finish linear read.
I love that in the end she essentially gives me the freedom to choose what in this book will work for me and my family and what won’t. But I have to admit that I wasn’t sure she’d give me that freedom. I felt preached at for much of the book and uncomfortable with her assertions that I could pack up and travel the world with my 4 children 9 and under if I really, really wanted to. If I truly wanted the simple life my husband could quit his regular job and find something more flexible he could do from home so we could be more jet-setting.
Her goal of spending more and more money on high-quality, locally grown, organic, fair-trade groceries isn’t something that has me jumping up and down with excitement. She says that decades ago Americans spent 40% of their budget on groceries and how this is more ideal….it’s simply not ideal for me.
The Epilogue to the book says they were packing their family of 5 up to spend a year abroad, traveling from place to place to see the sites. It seems a fitting end for her personal story, but thoroughly untenable and impractical for pretty much the rest of us.
I suppose what I expected from this book is something more practical, something more applicable to my life, something more personally inspiring. Instead, it’s really her memoir or even a travelogue, but with more sweeping generalizations about buying local groceries from farmer’s markets than specific stories and vignettes. I also hoped for something more spiritual and faith-driven, but there’s very little mention of that. I guess in the end I felt like I had a conversation with someone who is amazing, but with whom I simply don’t have much in common.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”