Friday, April 22, 2011

Made For You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home

Caitlin Shetterly and her husband Dan head west from their home state of Maine to make their way in Los Angeles in 2008. Both are freelancers- Dan as a photographer, Caitlin as a writer/actress. Although the economy isn't good, at first the couple is unaffected by the economic downturn. They are enjoying being newly married, and although Caitlin suffers horrible morning sickness as they prepare for the birth of their first child, the two are also having fun exploring new places in Los Angeles. Then in just a matter of weeks, Dan's jobs dry up. Suddenly they, too, are affected by the economy. While Dan hustles to find a way to make money to support them, there are no jobs available. After searching in every available place for work, their only option seems to be to move back to Maine. The couple and their infant son move in with Caitlin's mom, helping her out and learning to live together again. While they get along well with Caitlin's mother, there are small annoyances amongst them as Caitlin's mom was used to living alone, and Dan and Caitlin are adult children being forced - by circumstances- back into a parent's house.

Eventually Dan and Caitlin are able to move out, after Dan is accepted to graduate school. Yet, Shetterly notes in this book's final chapter, there is a continuous ebb and flow in life, and while things are going well now, there may continue to be times when they once again struggle. Losing a job and being forced to move back with a parent is something that many people can relate to and Shettlery chronicled their experiences for NPR. Those readers allowed the Shetterlys to feel they were not alone.

Caitlin continues to write on her blog, where readers can keep up with the Shetterlys. As a memoir-lover, this one was an interesting read. And, despite the fact that many people experienced something similar to what Caitlin and Dan went through, hers is the first memoir I have read chronicling how the economic downturn affected them.

"I learned I could live in the fine mornings of my present rather than strive constantly ahead. We need each other. I need my family, I need my friends, I need my communities (neighbors, colleagues, fellow writers, strangers who might listen to me on the radio). And these days I think that until all Americans realize this- how much we need each other- that some of us will always be falling through the cracks, every single moment of every single day."

1 comment:

Katie said...

This is the first I've heard of "Made For You and Me." It sounds like a easy to relate to love story, but at the same time... it strikes me as somewhat odd that people are already writing memoirs about the recession - especially because it doesn't seem to be over yet. I guess it just seems a little quick. Regardless, I'm curious to check out the author's blog!