Adventures in Poverty
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Adventures in Poverty
Author: Nancy Bolton
Major Themes: Country Life, Family Life, Farm Life, Autobiography, Survival
Synopsis: When their income dropped to nearly nothing, what could the Bolton family do but move onto undeveloped land with no modern conveniences!
I’ve always enjoyed reading true stories about people who move to a farm and work to make a living. A story told by a person about his or her own life has always fascinated me! I used to look for books like that in the library; most of the stories happened in the 1950s or 60s. When Adventures in Poverty came available for review, I was immediately intrigued. Here was a story of a family moving to the land in the 1980s!
Nancy Bolton tells her family’s story of living on next to nothing. Her husband, a salt miner, went on strike with his co-workers, and their income dropped to a mere pittance. What could they do? I thought their answer was rather creative—and very brave. They bought undeveloped land via land contract, and moved their house trailer to it, living without electricity or running water, or even gas for the stove, with five little children, and winter coming. What a challenge!
I thoroughly enjoyed Nancy’s account of how they managed. From hauling water in buckets from a nearby reservoir and living on canned foods that needed no refrigeration, to planting a garden in the spring and raising all the food they could, the family found ways to feed themselves and make every dollar stretch. Gradually, life grew easier, and this creative family found ways to work around each difficulty they were presented with.
Adventures in Poverty is not only a story of physically surviving and thriving, it is also an inspiring story of faith in God. Nancy doesn’t talk a lot about their faith, but it is very definitely a part of who they are. I appreciated her final thoughts at the end of the book:
“We experienced firsthand that hardships will come and go, but with God’s help, we didn’t need to fear them—just remember that we’d learn something useful from them.”
I was also challenged by this thought, from about halfway through the book:
“Again, I was faced with the dilemma of how to appreciate the generosity of others and thankfully receive a blessing, while at the same time I felt inside that if we couldn’t manage things ourselves, it was somehow a failure to accept help from others.”
I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading personal memoirs, and real-life stories of country living (warning—it’s not all pretty; the Bolton boys saw firsthand some of the cruelty that exists in nature).
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: See the last paragraph. Yikes is used in chapter 1. Darn appears once each in chapters 23, 27 and 29.
Read Aloud—Ages 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Country Life, Family Life, Farm Life, Autobiography, Survival