Real Dirt: How I Beat My Grid-Life Crisis


Real Dirt

Product details

Product name: Real Dirt: How I Beat My Grid-Life Crisis

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: James Woodford

Publisher: Text

Price: $34.95

Size: 248 pages

G Rating:


James Woodford began writing about the environmental movement as an arts student at Australia's University of Sydney.

After a short stint as a campaigner for the South-East Forest Alliance, he worked his way from copyboy to environment writer at the Sydney Morning Herald, won the Eureka prize for environmental journalism in 1996 and wrote a best-selling first book, The Wollemi Pine, in 2000.

With a tidy, logical and impressive career progression on paper, in Real Dirt, Woodford writes with honesty and self-deprecating humour of the emptiness he felt despite such outward success, of feeling like a fraud and a stranger to himself and his family.

His response to this crisis of identity? Turning back to the Australian bush - falling in love with a piece of land on the south coast of NSW and with a park ranger called Prue.

Unlike many sea-change (and tree-change) stories, this one gives equal weight to the before and after stages of this 'conversion', allowing the reader to understand the complete journey.

In fact it's only in the last third of the book that Woodford describes, with palpable pride and delight, how he and his family have created a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle on their 49-hectare property, and the richness of life they have gained in the process.

It's a warts-and-all account that covers everything from the challenge of slaughtering your own chooks to dealing with disapproving neighbours and cynical teenage offspring.

If you're a city-dweller, be warned: Real Dirt might see you questioning your comfortable, grid-bound, urban existence!

Printed on paper manufactured from wood grown in sustainable regrowth forests.

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