Book Review | The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

the big tinyOnce again, I’ve asked my friend and professional writer Laura M. LaVoie to provide some insight on the tiny house community and how it may relate to graceful aging, living in community, and other issues boomers face today. Laura has read and reviewed the book The Big Tiny by Dee Williams, a woman living in Olympia Washington in a house smaller than 100 square feet.

Beyond almost anything else, I am grateful to be a part of the tiny house community so I can meet wonderful souls like Dee Williams. She is funny, bubbly, and kind. Like most of the tiny house community, we are all spread across the country so most of our interaction takes place on social media. However, in April of 2014 a couple dozen bloggers converged on the first annual Tiny House Conference in Charlotte NC. Dee was the key note speaker. This was right before her book, The Big Tiny, hit bookstore shelves so I really didn’t know much about her story beyond the basics that she was willing to share online.

When she began to speak to the crowd of 150 people interested in building and live in their own tiny homes she was absolutely captivating. She spoke less on the nuts and bolts of building a tiny house and more on the many reasons why.

“I wanted to design the house around my body and my needs, instead of following the pattern that I had fallen in to in my big house: picking paint colors and finishing the woodwork with some future owner and salability in mind. This was going to be my house.” (from The Big Tiny)

One of Dee’s primary motivations for building and living in a tiny home was a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. She didn’t see giving up most of her life to pay for a large home she was barely in each day when she didn’t even know what was going to happen tomorrow. She discovered Jay Shafer and the earliest incarnations of the tiny house community and knew that was the right path for her. When her build was done she moved into the back yard of friends in Olympia Washington. There she began to share her life with her two friends, their two children, and an elderly Aunt who lived next door. Dee began to care for Aunt Rita and, in turn, the family began to care for Dee. Not just medically but also emotionally. They formed a community.

The Big Tiny is this story. Dee’s passion and humor percolate through the book and it isn’t hard to get lost in her stories and experiences. It is a great look at how to live life more deliberately and a real testament to how changes like this can impact you and the people around you.

“Whose idea was it that we should all get jobs, work faster, work better, race from place to place with our brains stewing on tweets, blogs, and sound bites on must-see movies, must-do experiences, must-have gadgets, when in the end, all of us will have is our simple beating heart reaching up for the connection to whoever might be in the room leaning into our mattress as we draw our last breath., I hate to put it in such dramatic terms, but it’s kinda true.”

Dee is an inspirational story teller and this book won’t disappoint you. You can buy The Big Tiny by Dee Williams on Amazon.

Do you want to know more about living in community, in a tiny home or otherwise? Women for Living in Community provides resources and you can join the conversation over at Facebook.

Women For Living in Community