Book Notes: Homeward Bound


In grad school one of the many classes I took with Angeles Arrien invited us to explore our relationship with the various Greek goddesses and the various archetypal qualities they engendered. Did we embody the virtues of each, or were we missing the integration of some of the intrinsic qualities they held? Hestia is the virgin goddess of hearth, and while I have long held an endearing and esteemed place for her in my life (I call her “Susie Creamcheese” blasphemous as that might appear), I knew that many of my sister classmates were struggling to embrace her. Wasn’t that passe? If Emily Matchar’s new book Homeward Bound is any indication Hestia is making a righteous comeback as women around the country are turning to what Matchar calls “the new domesticity.” Gardening bloggers and longtime readers of this blog will smile, as we have for half a decade held sway that growing our own vegetables, baking our own pastries [think weekly scones!], and selling our crafts on Etsy is de rigueur for us. And we knew by our large and ever-growing networks we were not alone, but did we truly know it’s a fast emerging movement? Maybe not.
It’s not hard to imagine why such a thing is true. The Agrarian Movement was organic and intrinsic and an inescapable reality: we need to eat. The Industrial Revolution and what followed might have driven some women to the workplace, and rightly so, but wasn’t it inevitable that one day we would awaken to the reality that farming out our most precious commodities and resources to indifferent corporations would lead to, well, disaster? Is it any wonder we are reclaiming our need and right to grow our own food, or to at least buy locally and organically and to realize the beauty and wonder and artistry of creating and reinventing our homefronts for ourselves and our beloved families?

Matchar brilliantly articulates the history of women’s evolving roles, including the emergence of “feminism” in its various forms. Does the retreat of women back into their kitchens and gardens mean feminism is on the wane? Homeward Bound thinks not. Instead “the new domesticity” describes an empowered female, reclaiming all the parts of her complex self. What unfolds is not June Cleaver, but a super connected woman who is more balanced, aware and happy. Gardening bloggers will especially appreciate Chapter Three: June Cleaver 2.0: Bloggers and the Rise of Domestic Chic. Did you know you were part of creating that trend? Some of you do. Other chapters include topics such as Cupcake Feminists, The Rise of Homesteading and DIY Parenthood.

“Nowhere is the new domestic chic so apparent as in the blogosphere. If you’re a young woman, chances are you already know all about the ‘domestic porn’ blog phenomenon, which is overwhelmingly female dominated and overwhelmingly enamored of a cozy vintage aesthetic.”

Author Emily Matchar is a Harvard educated freelance journalist. She lives in Hong Kong and Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband. Her primary focus is culture, women’s issues, work and food. Homeward Bound is a smart treatise on what’s happening with many young women in today’s world as they search for healthy lifestyle choices and answers to the dilemma of living in a global community increasingly run by socially unconscious corporations. Recommended reading. Enjoy!

Love and blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: Part Two of my interview with Slade Suiter has now been posted both on Authenticity Radio’s site and more recently conveniently on YouTube. Also you might watch for an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy appearing in the September issue of Stillpoint Arts Quarterly. Thank you!

6 Responses to “Book Notes: Homeward Bound”

  1. What a lovely suggestion, mom. As you wrote, we know that giving our domesticity to corporations isn’t working, and that a return to local and sustainable is needed. Honoring Hestia’s essence doesn’t diminish us, but enriches our lives. I look forward to checking out the book. 🙂

    Love you,
    Antonia xoxo

  2. Hi, Antonia! I’m looking forward to sharing my copy with you! I think you will find it very inspiring and illuminating! Love, Mom xoox

  3. So glad that the next generation is catching on to how important it is to screen what goes into our bodies. Now is the time for “putting up” for the winter months. Did 6 qts of corn chowder last weekend. Yesterday was 12 pounds of green & wax beans. I freeze now because so much faster and safer than canning. This time of year, there is something in abundance each weekend at your local farmers market if you didn’t get your own garden planted. How else are we going to survive if we don’t care for ourselves and our families? Thanks for highlighting the book.
    Cousin Julie

  4. Hi, Julie! Yes, this book is encouraging! It’s also an intelligent broad brush look at the fact that it is a movement, one that is highly accessible to all online. No longer do women need to turn to their mothers or grandmothers for this kind of info. It’s all pervasive, readily available as long as you have a computer. That’s most of us. Your winter prep sounds fantastic! Kathryn xoxo

  5. I’m for home made and home grown! Not a new idea in my world..more like copying my mother…but then, I am 73:).

  6. Hi, Alice, You were lucky if you learned these skills at home. I did not. I don’t even recall my Grandmother ever canning, though she did teach me to embroider and knit. And she herself was a master at crocheting. I wonder how many of us learned such skills at home? Good question. Thanks. Kathryn xoxo

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