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Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A modern Walden—if Thoreau had had three kids and a minivan—Cabin Fever is a serious yet irreverent take on living in a cabin in the woods while also living within our high-tech, materialist culture.

Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan. This is the serious yet irreverent sensibility that suffuses Cabin Fever, as the author seeks to apply t
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Power of Myth by Joseph CampbellCabin Fever by Tom Montgomery FateI Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. GeislerForgive Me If I've Told You This Before by Karelia Stetz-WatersThe Path to the Sun by Kimberli A. Bindschatel
2013 Reading List FUUL
2nd out of 14 books — 7 voters
Walden by Henry David ThoreauWalden on Wheels by Ken IlgunasPilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie DillardGrowing a Farmer by Kurt TimmermeisterThe Quarter-Acre Farm by Spring Warren
Paring down - Back to basics
21st out of 60 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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"Cabin Fever" is a collection of essays about the author's thoughts and experiences at the family cabin. Fate, a suburban family man, identifies with Thoreau, and is a close reader of "Walden" and Thoreau's journals. Many of these essays contrast Fate's modern, somewhat fractured life with the more deliberate lifestyle Thoreau led more than a century ago.

I am very interested in the book's theme, which seems to probe various answers to the question of how a modern person who lives with a family
Thoreau meets Sand County Almanac in the 21st century.
What I'm seeking here is a more deliberate life. But deliberate doesn't just mean "intentional" or "careful": it means "balanced".

To put it plainly, a deliberate life is a search for balance - in mind body and spirit - amid our daily lives.

Home. That's where I'm headed. This is an invitation to the way-finding. These words are tracks through a sun-dazzled meadow and a long winter night full of coughing children. They follow ants and cicadas and coyotes and the sudden twists and turns of
Full of observations, reflections on our place in and as part of the natural world. A delightful reminiscence of a year spent building a cabin while writing with Thoreau's words as prompts.

"Wonder, and the reference it brings, is the best part of human nature."
Ruth Everhart
I love the premise of this book of essays -- what if Thoreau was a suburban father of 3? Indeed. Didn't you think about that as you read Walden? The author, Tom Fate, is a true fan of Thoreau, and he brings a similar love for Wildness into his life in suburban Chicago, or at his primitive cabin in Sawyer, Michigan. I think this would be a great gift book for a guy who has an inner Walden!
I enjoyed this book. Modeled after Thoreau's Walden, the book is organized by the four seasons of a year, and each reflective essay is preceded by a epigraph taken from one of Thoreau's writings. Each essay seeks the wilderness within and without, and looks for balance and meaning in the woods as well as suburbia.
This book was a lot funnier than I expected it to be, and also more spiritual. It's not just about finding a place in the woods in order to be reflective: it's about the balance between that space away and the space immersed in the everyday, the bustle, the technologies and demands of modern life.
Marty Greenwell
Nice title: Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild. More than that, though. It shows that in this chaotic world that a person with responsibilities can go back into nature, using Thoreau as his master, and not just survive but live life to its fullest. I liked this short little book, for its simplicity and calmness. The author is good at attempting to combine the feelings that he uncovers at his "house in the woods" and carry them home to his suburban Chicago family and home. Much ...more
I loved this book. I really liked the funny storis and especially like the many references to Henry David Thoreau.
Joe Eason
Great book, definitely worth reading for anyone who likes or even tolerates Thoreau and lives in suburbia like me.
The themes here are interesting - finding balance in life, being a suburban parent while still trying to live in a searching sort of way. There are some nice images and some nice writing. But I just didn't feel the depth. It highlighted for me how hard really great nature and personal essay writing is to do. First you have to be one of the lucky ones that thinks really great thoughts, like Annie Dillard. If you don't have the thoughts, the illustrative observations and experiences just don't hol ...more
Observations by a suburban family man-who wants to live as much like Henry David Thoreau as possible. It's hard--but I like the idea.
Almost as memorable and quotable as Henry David Thoreau's writings which it digests and comments upon.
Who doesn't like the idea of a cabin in the woods to call their own? With humor and subtlety the author weaves in bits and pieces of Thoreau and the modern world.
Jul 09, 2011 Du rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an example of why you shouldn't impulse grab books at the library. I love the idea of a cabin in the woods, and thought that is what I'd get. Suburban guy buys some land designs and builds his get away place.

Instead I got a whinny overly sensitive book about life and reading Thoreau. No escapism here, no uplifting how to deal with stress by returning to nature.

I had considered one star, and then realized I should have read it closer and then I might have passed on reading it.
Karen Vandenbosch
I really wanted to like this but could not get into it very well, read a few chapters and skimmed a few others hoping to get into the book, just couldn't . Have read many other cabin in the woods books and enjoyed the back to nature writings but this one fell short.
very well written. Not quite what I was expecting, but I suppose if I had read the reviews (or at least read Walden first) I would have had a better idea. This is a book to get lost in the prose.
I didn't finish it. Just couldn't get into it, and I tried many times, but it's not fair to rate it when I didn't finish.
Slow read, which is what works best for books like this. Makes you reflect on things going on in your own life.
Jon Fine
Meh. Some salient points, but seemed like the author was writing the book more for himself than the audience.
I'm inspired to read Thoreau!
Gwendolyn Clayton
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Tom Montgomery Fate is the author of five books of nonfiction, including Beyond the White Noise (1997), a collection of essays, Steady and Trembling (2005), a spiritual memoir, and Cabin Fever (2011), a nature memoir. His essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Orion, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Riverteeth, Sojourners, Christian Century, and many other jour ...more
More about Tom Montgomery Fate...

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“I would like to learn how to do that--to recognize the gift of enough.” 3 likes
“I don't know where I'm going. I just want to walk. Or maybe to pray, as that's how the best walks seem, like an emptying and opening.” 0 likes
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