Book Review: The Big Tiny: A Do-It-Myself Memoir


“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

~~Henry David Thoreau

Spider monkeys, bananas trees, butterflies, and kids playing soccer like pros.

Poverty, lack of running water, hunger and illness.

Juxtapose the two images and you have a view of the experience Dee Williams portrays when she shares her work in Guatemala helping to build a schoolhouse.

From this life changing trip in a developing country to a life changing health diagnosis of congestive heart failure, Dee Williams makes a decision about the way she lives. In her book, The Big Tiny: A Do-It-Myself Memoir, Williams writes about that decision as she contemplates her mortality and seeks simplicity.

Williams builds herself an 84-square-foot tiny house on wheels using largely recycled materials and her own muscle power. Then she pares down her possessions to 305 items and moves her home to the backyard of friends in Olympia, Washington.

Because her house is so small, Williams has to step outside of it and find community with others. Williams lives deliberately, connected to the natural environment and other people. Written with raw honesty and humor, Williams’s memoir speaks to anyone wishing to slow down, scale back, and pause to pay attention to the important things in life.

“Letting go of “stuff” allowed the world to collapse behind me as I moved, so I became nothing more or less than who I simply was: Me.”



Renee believes we all have a story and advocates continuously for sharing & improving these stories. An educator and activist for eradicating inequities in our world, Renee believes access to quality education is a right for everyone. On the C&W blog Renee explores her creative side by offering thoughts on a variety of books from her book a week reading list.

Renee lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband and two sons.

Twitter: @renee_boss

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