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Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,501 Ratings  ·  383 Reviews
Advance praise for Farewell, My Subaru

“Fine is Bryson Funny.” ——Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Fine is an amiable and self-deprecating storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams. If you're a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-style humor -- and also looking to find out how to raise your own livestock to feed your ice-cream fetish -- Farewell may prove a vital tool.” —— The Wash
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Villard
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverAll Creatures Great and Small by James HerriotThe Dirty Life by Kristin KimballFarm City by Novella CarpenterHit by a Farm by Catherine Friend
Down on the Farm
8th out of 146 books — 182 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2008
244th out of 1,533 books — 6,858 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,673)
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Jul 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: absolutely no one
I wanted to like the book. I did. Having given up my own car and adopted a simpler lifestyle, I was curious to see how that sort of tale would translate to the page to address the general populace. What I got was the stereotypical "idealistic liberal do-gooder gets back-to-earth and makes an ass of himself because he didn't think first" story that so many people like to mock. I mean, come on -- you want to buy a place in the country where you can be self-sufficient in growing your food, and you ...more
May 14, 2008 Erikka rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: newbies to the going local movement
Recommended to Erikka by: someone off a blog
Shelves: reads-of-08
Fine is a surfer sounding travel journalist turned crunchy hippy writing about his exploits in going local in the New Mexican desert. His exploits and ideas and reasons are great and I wholeheartedly support him and others like him making changes in their lives. However, I am surprised this man's occupation was as a journalist because his writing ability apparently doesn't transpose well to novel form. I was bored by his tone, by his new agey surfer lingo and metaphors, and his total dropping of ...more
Jun 29, 2010 jess rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook-d, 2010, growing
I appreciate the subject matter: reducing carbon footprints, bringing local food to the table, exploring alternative fuel use, participating in animal husbandry for the sake of self-sufficiency, and so on. I mean, that stuff is what I get into.

Mr. Fine tackles all those subjects with the bravado and swagger of American manifest destiny. He buys a ridiculously oversized american truck to run on biodiesel and replace his small, reliable, compact, good gas-mileage Subaru. Somehow, his chronicles o
Jan 21, 2009 Keri rated it really liked it
This book REALLY makes me want to move to the sticks and get some goats! I'm kind of sick of all these books about people taking a year off to do this or that, or live a different way... maybe I'm just bitter that I don't have a disposable income that would allow me to go traipsing off to do crazy stuff just for the hell of it. But this book felt different to me; this guy really believes in what he's trying to do, and he still lives at the Funky Butte Ranch, which says something. A very quick, i ...more
Carol Hunter
Jun 30, 2008 Carol Hunter rated it really liked it
An easy and extremely enjoyable read about Doug Fine's experiment in green living. This is a humorous addition to the "sustainable living" genre.
Jennifer Miera
Jan 14, 2009 Jennifer Miera rated it it was ok
A cutsey look at living off the grid and eating local. I thought the author tried a bit too hard to be funny. I chuckled a bit, and managed to finish the book, but it got a bit tedious. The experience wasn't even a good summary of his experience and definitely not chronological, which I found confusing. He'd be talking about egg production and I'd wonder where he was getting the egg supply - lo and behold - he had had chickens for months and never mentioned them. The garden is the last thing men ...more
Jul 16, 2016 Blue rated it did not like it
Shelves: disappointing
My city is having a "Green" challenge, with neighborhoods competing to see who can save the most energy (electricity/petroleum/water), and avoid waste. There is an app that you "buzz" when you complete a task, with points awarded for different tasks.

I've gotten weirdly competitive, and in an effort to score more points I found one of the books on the recommended reading list at the library.

I love sustainability issues, and I love reading, so I just assumed I'd love this. But no. The writing wa
Jul 10, 2014 Kathy rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book, mmm-2014
I wouldn't say it was epic, but it was interesting and I was excited to hear about someone just going for it. I have a few how-to books written by folks that have been living green lifestyles for 40 + yrs and so it was nice to just hear the story of someone trying to get started in the lifestyle. The how-to books were daunting to someone who has always lived in the suburbs and who had their very first garden just a few years back (and a very little teeny tiny garden at that). This bumbling schmo ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Bill
Shelves: audio, ill-chcpl
Similar to Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" but shorter and funnier. This is the story of a man's start at living without fossil fuels and through self-reliant farming, hunting and living.
Fine purchases a property in New Mexico and attempts to tame the elements in order to raise chicken, goats, and vegetables. He changes to solar panels and a vehicle fueled with used vegetable oil.
The author's sense of humor is evident through the naming of his animals (a rooster named Dick Che
Mar 20, 2009 Sage rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
This book was a light, quick read that I enjoyed and probably would give a 3.5 star rating to if I could. It's about Doug Fine's journey from normal East Coaster to New Mexican rancher over the course of 2007. Part of what made it enjoyable was its reference at times to current events, which made me feel like I was reading something so contemporary, it might be possible to do it myself.

Fine's very liberal stances cannot be hidden in his predilection for words. While in no way a conservative, I f
Dec 28, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
My husband would HATE this guy. Punch him in the nose. I kept giggling to myself as I read this goofy lame-brained adventure book about a new yorker becoming a self-sufficient farmer in New Mexico, imagining the reception this earnest city slicker goofus had with the local ranchers. He shakes his head in wonder that Bush-supporters and Desert Storm Veterans could also be generous neighbors and biodiesel mechanics.

The author, his set up, and his whole shtick are almost too easy to mock. He's a li
Brittany Jedrzejewski
“What a Green Adventure!”

I sought out this book, Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine after coming across an article that suggested it as a good “green” read. The environment is a topic close to my heart and I thought it might help me become more aware and propel action within our own communities.

The author takes us on his journey to live a green life by using less oil, powering his life by renewable energy, eating locally and not dying in the process. To do this, he moves to New Mexico and in a yea
Oct 11, 2009 Ciara rated it did not like it
hated this book. from the moment that the dude offered up a recipe for bruschetta & didn't even call it bruschetta because he seems to have never heard of bruschetta before (he presented the recipe as if it were a remarkable discovery he made whilst dicking around in his kitchen one day, as opposed to a standard fare appetizer at any half-reputable italian restaurant anywhere in the world), i knew i was in for a bumpy ride. the dude is apparently a journalist, which i find difficult to belie ...more
Dec 13, 2009 MsBrie rated it really liked it
Farewell My Subaru follows the trials and travails of journalist Doug Fine in his efforts to truly 'live green' while also enjoying modern amenities Americans have become accustomed to such as car travel and the internet.

Fine's book truly shines both due to his incessant passion for preserving our earth, and through his hold no punches wit. Whether he's joking about the draft dodging righties, taking a knock at Diebold, or lamenting his rose eating young goats, Fine allows his nonchalant wit to
Nov 05, 2008 Cheri rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: trust-fund college kids, frat boy green wannabes
I, like other reviewers, wanted to like this book. I'm all about people my age going back to the land without giving up the internet.

Doug Fine disappointed me, though. He seemed to spend more time thinking of getting laid than on how to live lightly. And, as he freely admits, he lived in "a spirit of contradiction." Getting a big honking truck just to use biofuel, for instance, seems pretty silly.

The book doesn't inspire and it doesn't elucidate how to live the good life, either. It just limps
Feb 07, 2010 Melody rated it did not like it
I found this book both facile and deeply disturbing. Fine struck me as a whiny, yuppie with at best a half-assed commitment to the environment. I didn't like the tone, I didn't like the way he went about his alleged conversion, and I found most, if not all, of his conclusions completely flawed. I suspect that if I had read this before I was eyeball deep in the stunning, life-altering What We Leave Behind, I might have judged Fine more leniently. Fine's changes are superficial and don't address t ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Kim rated it it was ok
This book was chosen as the summer read for the local high school, so I picked it up to be current with the kids. To be honest, I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate it into my classes -- some of the mentions are not quite age-appropriate and I was surprised it was selected! -- But I think my biggest issue was the fact that, to me, it seemed like the author was trying to be funny/witty/sarcastic with every single sentence. It was exhausting, and it felt put-on. I felt that the writing improv ...more
Oct 11, 2009 Tasha rated it it was ok
The author kind of makes me want to pat him on the head and bless his little heart. He writes from a place of absolute privilege (Fine is living off savings; with this he buys a ranch, a truck that he has fitted to run on veggie oil, and sets of solar panels at $12k a shot), and has the audacity to imply that everyone has the ability to live as he does. He calls his experiment of living on a ranch a success after only a year, and I think he truly lost me when he wrote that his girlfriend is beau ...more
Matthew Ciarvella
Jul 02, 2016 Matthew Ciarvella rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Although I can't imagine driving around in a hazy cloud of KFC smell (the thought turns my stomach), the rest of Doug Fine's adventure in sustainable living sounds pretty damn good. I felt ready to pack up everything and head out to find some land and a few goats and give it a try.

If I have a quibble with the book, it would be that I'd very much have liked more information on how much it cost to launch this venture. Fine discusses the cost of things like the solar energy installation (it will p
Lizzy P.
Nov 15, 2015 Lizzy P. rated it really liked it
Anyone who has an interest in trying to become more green would find Farewell My Subaru by Doug Fine very helpful. They can follow his examples while also learning from his mistakes. In this nonfiction story, Fine describes his experience of trying to go green and reduce his carbon footprint. He brings us through his adventures from the purchase of his first farm animal to the harvest of his first crops. He does so in a way that is enjoyable to read and hard to put down.
From the very start of
Sam Cwik
Nov 23, 2014 Sam Cwik rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Noah Dennie
In the book "Farewell My Subaru", the author Doug Fine decides to become environmental and tries to just be more eco friendly. So he starts out by getting some land out in New Mexico to start his own farm, gets some baby goats off of Ebay, some chickens as well, gets some solar panels and then attempts to put them in by himself. He eventually gets rid of hi gas guzzling Subaru Outback and decides that since he is out in the wilderness, he needs a big truck to pull equipment, be able to transport ...more
Frederick Bingham
I listened to this one, narrated by the author.

This is one of a genre. Guy decides to live without something we call essential in the 21st century. In this case it was the power grid and gasoline for his car. He moves to a ranch in New Mexico, buys some goats, plants a garden, installs solar panels, retrofits a truck to be grease-powered, finds love, and lives happily ever after.

A number of things were left unanswered for me after reading this book. Where did he get the money to do all of the st
Apr 05, 2011 Jubilee rated it it was amazing
An excellent book for all those that can think for themselves. As a native New Mexican, I believe this book portrays many of the trials that locals endure. Living in rural NM changes people in exciting ways, and I feel that this book is a great example of how us New Mexicans turn toward our environment and neighbors for everything that makes us whole and healthy.
Jan 17, 2009 Nicole rated it it was ok
Listened to the audiobook. Found the author to be rather annoying as he continually plunges into endeavors without enough planning and so has to keep rebuying things and chalks it up to fate and shenanigans. And included recipes and tried for a humor that really I found to be shamefully ripping off Kingsolver. Least he's doing it though, he get's an extra star there.
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
I read this while I was immersed in a huge
work project, and it was perfect for that. It was easy to read and had a playful tone. I know the area where Fine lives - the Mimbres - my best friend used to live there. It was fun to imagine the familiar setting.

On the other hand, I found the measures taken by Fine - living off the grid by raising goats, using vegoil in his Vehicle, and growing his own food - to be so extreme as to be not that useful. As a vegetarian who rides my bike to work as often
Jan 28, 2009 erin rated it it was ok
Two stars for the efforts Doug makes, but none for his writing, which tends to repetition and an inflated sense of hilarity. I came away from the book with my own interest in a greener lifestyle piqued, but unsatisfied - the contents were affable, but so superficial I didn't get the impression I'd learned anything from his experiences.
Brian Sobolak
Dec 14, 2008 Brian Sobolak rated it it was ok
There were parts of this book that made me laugh, but ultimately the schtick of "I'm from Long Island! But now I'm in New Mexico! With goats!" just got old. The book felt less than fully developed and quite short -- putting recipes and useless environmental factoids seemed like filler. Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend it.
Betty Kaye
Feb 22, 2012 Betty Kaye rated it liked it
Actually I would give this book a three-and-a-half. The author describes in detail how difficult and expensive (initially) it is to go green. I don't think I could do it. He uses some clever similes and metaphors to keep it light and amusing.
Regan Minners
Sep 27, 2015 Regan Minners rated it it was ok
Fine expends a lot of effort trying to be funny at the expense of details of his life that would enrich the book. Eighty percent of the way through the book he spends two paragraphs detailing all the things he has to do before he can go river tubing... And that's really the only glimpse we get of the work that goes into daily life on the ranch. The rest is surface-level grazing, interspersed with attempts at political and social humor. He tries to make up for it with several pages of diatribe at ...more
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Fine Living 1 18 May 10, 2008 11:45PM  
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After graduating from Stanford, Doug Fine strapped on a backpack and traveled to five continents, reporting from remote perches in Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala and Tajikistan. He is a correspondent for NPR and PRI. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Wired, Salon, US News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor, and Outside Magazine. A native of Long Island, Fine now lives in an ob ...more
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