A Widow’s Walk Off-Grid to Self-Reliance:
An inspiring, true story of courage and determination
Book Review by Dee Mann
What would you do if you found yourself widowed and homeless with little money left after settling your spouse’s estate? Annie Dodds decided it was time to follow her dream and live alone, off-grid.
In her memoir, A Widow’s Walk Off-Grid to Self-Reliance, author Annie Dodds tells the story of her years living in an old, rundown house with no electricity and no running water.
Dodds’ story begins with the discovery of her husband’s illness. In the first few pages, she briefly covers the two years between that point and his passing and by page seven, her journey off-grid begins when her son, who knew of her dream, comes to her and says, “Mama, I think I’ve found the place you were talking about. It’s an 80-year-old house on fifty acres.”
Some readers may wonder why any son would even tell his mother about a property like the one she came to affectionately call “the ole house,” but as you read, you quickly realize how well he knew his mother. He knew her strength, knew she had the determination and creativity to adapt to almost anything, and knew she could learn to flourish in even the most adverse conditions.
Her memoir is an intensely personal story. She is not a professional or polished writer, but is a very good story-teller. As you read, you begin to feel as if Dodds is sitting across the kitchen table telling you the story over a shared pot of coffee.
The narrative jumps around at points, sometimes a forward, sometimes back as she remembers things, just as it might in a coffee-time conversation. You can almost hear her voice as she describes confronting and solving problems as diverse as capturing and storing water, cooking outdoors, blocking the cold winter winds from blowing through old, uninsulated walls, learning to overcome fear and loneliness, and more.
Perhaps more compelling than her overcoming hardships is the impact she had on the lives of the people, and the critters, she encountered while living in the ole house.
Anyone who doubts women can be strong, brave, tough, resourceful, gutsy, and independent will find their opinion changed after spending a few hours reading about Annie Dodds’ journey off-grid to self-reliance.