LOVING AND LEAVING THE GOOD LIFE by Helen Nearing

LOVING AND LEAVING THE GOOD LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this soft-spoken memoir, Nearing (Simple Food for the Good Life, 1980, etc.), on her own since husband Scott's 1983 death, gives her version of their steadfast life together. The Nearings are best known, of course, for following a path of ""voluntary simplicity,"" chosen after Scott's academic exile and powered by an unwavering devotion to each other and to ""natural living in simple wholesome surroundings."" Here, Helen explains how she came to this principled partnership after a free-spirited childhood with slightly offbeat parents and utterly ordinary siblings. After training as a violinist and enjoying a brief but intense friendship with the young Krishnamurti, she found in Scott both inspiration and abiding comfort. They took to the woods of Vermont (and then to Maine to escape developers) with no apparent regrets and lived austerely for more than 50 years. And though Helen tends to present herself as a self-effacing junior partner, she clearly pulled her weight; and while some readers may find Scott's uncompromising posture too inflexible--he refused contact with his older son (and cherished grandchildren) because the man worked for Henry Luce--there's no doubting the sincerity of their convictions. This affecting possible last testament characterizes the Nearings' life together as ""an interchange of essences"" from romantic first encounter to Scott's chosen death by starvation. ""To have partaken of and to have given love,"" Helen says, ""is the greatest of life's rewards.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1992
ISBN: 0930031636
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Chelsea Green