Review: Nomadland


By Jessica Bruder
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393249316, September 2017, 320pp.

The Short of It:

A thoughtful look at a community that has made the best of their financial challenges by living on-the-go.

The Rest of It:

In Nomadland, Jessica Bruder joins a select group of individuals for an opportunity to be “houseless”, not homeless. These folks, mostly the 65+ crowd, find that the only way to make ends meet is to live in a van or RV and then drive to where the work is. During a time when they should be able to sit back and enjoy life, they find themselves roaming the land for that perfect opportunity. One that can afford them the basics such as food and gas for their vehicle.

I can’t say that this book opened my eyes to anything I had not heard about before, but it did emphasize the community aspect which I enjoyed very much. These folks help each other out. They come together to share food and resources and provide support when needed. Although their incomes are very limited, they are often very generous with one another.

I guess one thing that I wasn’t aware of before is how organized this way of living can be. There are websites and books and all sorts of resources on how to live this way. Yes, they are surviving but these people seem to know what’s important and that  “things” don’t make you happy. What they crave most is a place to settle down.

This book was chosen for a non-fiction club I am trying out. Our meeting was cancelled so I have yet to find out what anyone else thought but for the most part it’s a quick read and if you have any interest in how the recession impacted these folks, check it out.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

19 thoughts on “Review: Nomadland”

    1. It’s definitely a book that will make you think about the current state of the workforce. So many retired folks are returning to work out of necessity. High rents, high everything really, contribute to it. Where I live, the cost of a studio apartment, not a very nice one even, is about $1900 a month. How can someone on minimum wage afford that?

    1. I read an article about millennials and how they are choosing this lifestyle for themselves. Going to where the work is. Traveling. So many of them are in tech fields so they can really work from anywhere. I thought this book would have a little of that in there but nope.

  1. I’m thinking I’ll try to listen to this one at some point. Retirement is a scary thing in some ways. We’re not at that point yet, but I think my grandparents’ generation did a better job of it. Of course, they had lived through the Depression, so were used to being frugal, etc.

    1. I didn’t know my grandparent’s really but my husband’s grandparents lived simply but spent money on what mattered. I remember Sunday dinners, lots of them, but I also remember them living it up at a nice restaurant now and then. The value of a dollar meant something too. No way would they pay $5 for a cup of coffee.

  2. I am just finishing this one up today. I like it, but there are some others I’ve read that are about trying to eke out an existence on minimum wage that I liked a bit more.

  3. This was very readable; one sitting for me. I only wished she comment whether this trend is also prevalent here on the East Coast. (I know people move to which ever state they can find jobs but, hadn’t heard of the whole RV aspect until reading this book.

    1. I’m guessing it’s a West Coast thing due to weather. I don’t think these people could afford snow tires or anything like that if they had to travel in real weather. On the flip side, living in an RV during 115 degree weather would be very rough too.

  4. Interesting. Jim and I used to talk about buying an RV as our retirement home and touring the country with it, but I had no real idea that people actually chose or were forced to live that way going from job to job. It makes sense to me. I do know that RV living does make for a close-knit community, so it does not surprise me that they are so generous and supportive of each other. It actually sounds like a better lifestyle to me than those living in tiny houses.

    1. I can totally see people doing it in their retirement if they have a desire to travel. But out of necessity, it’s a rough life. Worrying about repairs and upkeep keep these people up at night. Finding places to park cause some issues too. Where I live, you can’t even keep one in your driveway to stay in, like for when we tented for termites because it’s against a city ordinance. And I always wondered why RVs and vans end up parked at Walmart, well, according to the book Walmart welcomes this.

  5. I knew there were older people that lived in rv’s because of cost, but I wasn’t aware that so many of them were roving in search of work. That’s so sad that at that age, when they should be able to retire, they have to do that.

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