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Book review: “The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir” by Dee Williams

In “The Big Tiny,” Dee Williams walks us through the entire process of building her tiny home from the bottom up, openly letting us in on her fears and mistakes as well as successes and continuing excitement.
by Glen Seeber Modified: May 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm •  Published: May 11, 2014

“The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir” by Dee Williams (Blue Rider Press, 284 pages, in stores)

If you have ever wanted to simplify your life; if you have ever pulled a camper trailer behind a vehicle, stayed in one or admired one at an RV show; if you have ever desired a simple cabin in the woods, off the grid; if you have an unfulfilled desire to put your hands to work and make something, this book is for you.

In “The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir,” Dee Williams gives readers a funny, quirky, touching glimpse of her life in the Northwest and explains how a major life event turned everything upside down — and how she chose not just to lie down and wait for the end to come.

Williams had always been an outdoorsy person, from helping deliver calves at her childhood home in the Midwest to climbing mountains, kayaking, hiking and skydiving in the Northwest. She owned, restored and remodeled a full-size house, which she shared with roommates, and she worked as a state hazardous waste inspector.

Then she found herself in a hospital, being treated for congestive heart failure. When she returned to the healthy world, with a tiny defibrillator now residing inside her chest and zapping her whenever her heart grew hesitant, she took stock of her life.

A close brush with death will do something to a person, especially one as introspective and decisive as Williams. She saw a magazine article about a man who had built a tiny house and lived in it, and she decided she wanted to do the same thing. She would sell her house, sell or give away most of her possessions and build her own little home on a trailer base, so she could take it anywhere she pleased.

And build it she did: an 84-square-foot home on four wheels, no more than 13 1/2 feet tall and 8 1/2 feet wide. Walk in the front door and the kitchen is immediately to the left, with a single-burner stove and a cooler large enough to hold beer and half-and-half. Across from the kitchen is the commode — that is, a composting toilet — this house has no running water.

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by Glen Seeber
Copy Editor
Glen Seeber was born in Kansas, but his earliest memories are of residing in Ardmore, followed by attending kindergarten and first grade in Tripoli, Libya, where his father worked as a geologist. The rest of Glen's education was obtained in El...
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