Mini Book Review on Minimalism │ The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

The Year of Less Book Cover by Cait Flanders
Have you read this book? It's called The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store.

I didn't think I had read this book until one chapter in I noticed it sounded familiar. Not familiar in the "Oh, I remember reading this" but more along the lines of "This seems like I know it but I don't know why" kind of familiar.

I quickly checked my Goodreads app and sure enough, in July of 2018, I'd read it. Huh. Why didn't I remember that? In Cait Flander's biography on Amazon, it notes that this book "went on to become one of the most sold nonfiction books on Amazon in July 2018."

I bet it was. That's when I'd read it too.

So, why did I forget I had read it?

It wasn't because it wasn't a good book. This book felt far more comforting and attractive than other minimalist lifestyle books I'd read. It was honest, down-to-earth, and even ugly real sometimes. I could fully relate to her. 

But, maybe that's why I couldn't remember reading it. Because back when I had read it, I wasn't relating to her.

In 2018, though I'd been pursuing minimalism for about a year (albeit slowly) I was still learning about myself, and figuring out why I wanted minimalism in my life. I was also going through a heavy time of turmoil in various things from my marriage (we're fine) to shifting of friends, even to career choices.

Despite the heavy things, just like the heavy things Flanders covers in her book, I felt more in touch and aligned with what she had to say almost six years later - and re-reading it for the second time - than I did the first time around.

I didn't remember reading it because I wasn't ready to read it. That's my takeaway. I didn't jive with her book in the same way I did now because I was a different person six years ago. While things are great and wonderful today (amidst the moments of normal hardships) I felt very in tune with what she went through to get to her minimalistic lifestyle. Far more in tune in 2024 than in 2018.

Now, this re-reading of books thing isn't unusual for me. Twenty years after the first read-through of Tuesdays with Morrie (I wrote about it on my other blog) I read it again and loved it so much more. 

I think it's because experience does things to us that we can't anticipate. Books that I didn't necessarily like years ago are some of the best books I've ever read today. It's remarkable how time changes us. Experience alters our thoughts. Humility makes us see how much we don't know and how much we're all alike.

If you haven't read The Year of Less, I greatly recommend it. It's not a long book and her experiences pull you into her story from page one. She represents all of us: wounded, trying desperately to survive and thrive; she is a human being finally seeing that to do better and to be better, she needs to focus on the important things, like less stuff and smarter choices... which happens to be the opposite of what the world wants for us.

I fully relate. 

Minimalism isn't a popular thing (even though it's had - and currently has - its trending moments). In a consumeristic culture, to want less and be surrounded by less, and to desire more of the life God wants of us is counter-culture. People don't get it, don't like it, and don't want to understand it.

Slow living isn't for the faint of heart. 

But going against the grain means we've opened our eyes. And I'd rather live with my eyes wide open and alone than with fools who follow each other like sheep.

Read the book. It's worth it.



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