Wednesday, 23 July 2008
The Frontier House
I love this book - worth the money for the stunning photgraphs alone, I feel. Based on the Channel 4 series of the same name, it's the story of three families who spend several months in wild Montana, trying to replicate the frontier life. In amongst the photos of the modern day participants, there are some wonderful old photographs of the folks who did this for real. I found the book both fascinating and scary - would I manage to survive? How would I do getting enough of everything in to see me through a Montana winter? Would I get lonely? The sheer hard work of the lifestyle was well portrayed I think, as was teh isolation and cosntant battles with nature for sheer survival, let alone building a good life. there were interesting statistics on teh numbes who didn't make it, either returning to the cities/towns, or dying in their attempts to hack out a life liveable in this wildest of wild places. Very moving, were the phtos of teh gravestones along teh way, as the people made their way out west in wagon trains, by horse and on foot. For me, the most itneresting bits were from a woman's perspective - the ones left behind until sent for by their husbands, the ones who had to try and adapt to their new lifestyle, coping with childrena nd childbirth, even day to day things like washing and cooking were fraught with difficulty. You had to be strong and determined to survive, but some of them did, and did well.
Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't have chosen Montana - I have a bit of a bear phobia..........
While I hanker after a lot of things that I read about in the book, I certainly don't see their lives through rose tinted spectacles; I am under no illusions as to how hard and dangerous their lives were. It's more a yearning for a simpler way of life - they didn't have 4 lemon squeezers, or the luxury of being able to store boxes and boxes of wool and fabric for hobbies, rather than necessities. They only were able to have what they needed, sometimes not even that. It's re-inspired me with my constant de-cluttering too.
Thoroughly recommended as a great read, both for the present day perspectives on it, and the historical interest, which I found fascinating.
Posted by MrsL at 08:22