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

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

by Caitlin Shetterly
     
 

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Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West. At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By

Overview

Newlywed Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan Davis, two hardworking freelancers, began their lives together in 2008 by pursuing a lifelong, shared dream of leaving Maine and going West. At first, California was the land of plenty. Quickly, though, the recession landed, and a surprise pregnancy that was also surprisingly rough made Caitlin too sick to work. By December, every job Dan had lined up had been canceled, and though he pounded the pavement, from shop to shop and from bar to bar, he could not find any work at all. By March 2009, every cent of the couple's savings had been spent.

So, a year after they'd set out with big plans, Caitlin and Dan packed up again, this time with a baby on board, to make their way home to move in with Caitlin's mother. As they drove, Caitlin blogged about their situation and created audio diaries for NPR's Weekend Edition--and received an astounding response. From all across the country, listeners offered help, opening their hearts and their homes. And when the young family arrived back in rural Maine and squeezed into Caitlin's mother's small saltbox house, Caitlin learned that the bonds of family run deeper than any tug to roam, and that, with love, she and Dan could hold their dreams in sight, wherever they were.

Made for You and Me captures the irrepressible spirit and quiet perseverance of one small family--and offers to share that strength with any reader willing to make the journey.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shetterly, who chronicled her cross-country trip from L.A. to Maine for NPR's Weekend Edition, offers this deeper look into her emotional and geographic journey. The recession hit Maine hard in late 2007. Shetterly and her husband, caught off guard, struggled to make a living. Friends in California beckoned the pair, with tales of a sunnier, more prosperous, and stable life. The optimistic young couple, together with their dog and cat, set out for Los Angeles in 2008. A year later, depressed and broke, toting a new baby and minus one pet, they drove back home to Maine, settling in with Shetterly's mother. "My anger had fueled me to the point of outrage—how could America let me down this way? How could America do this to families? Wasn't it just yesterday we were watching Sex and the City and buying fabulous ‘lifestyles' on maxed out credit cards? What had changed overnight?" In this compelling narrative, Shetterly reveals all the messy, mundane details of lives coming undone. However, as she acknowledges sadly, it's her observations on the reduced American lifestyle that give her commentary an edge. Readers would be wise to heed her commentary on the loss of our small towns, homelessness, joblessness and the increasing economic divisions between Americans. (Mar.)
Scott Simon
"Caitlin Shetterly's Made for You and Me is a beautiful, moving, haunting, and funny memoir about what really counts. It moves deftly and lightly between the west coast and the east coast, and frustration and hope, with pointed, buoyant lines that make you smile as they pierce your heart. Made for You and Me is a memoir about great people (with great dogs, too; funny how that works out) and their great new son going through a rough patch with grace and wisdom. Caitlin and her family will realize many dreams. And in the meantime, rather than despair, they have given us a sublime gift of a book."
Kai Ryssdal
"There's a story of this country that doesn't get told a lot. Or told well. Of what it's like to not make it. Of having to say to yourself, and to your spouse and your child 'Listen, this isn't it. We need to try something else. We need to start over...from the very beginning.' Caitlin Shetterly's Made for You and Me is that story. Resonant and richly detailed, it takes you deep into the personal heart of the beginning of the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Then, somehow, via Venice, California, backwoods Maine and 3000 miles in between brings you out the other end."
Peter Davis
"Caitlin Shetterly was brave to leave home, braver to come back, bravest to tell a hardluck yet finally redemptive story of how she and her passionately devoted husband fought life to a draw in their coast to coast to coast odyssey. Kerouac would be proud. In fact he might be envious."
From the Publisher
"Caitlin Shetterly's Made for You and Me is a beautiful, moving, haunting, and funny memoir about what really counts. It moves deftly and lightly between the west coast and the east coast, and frustration and hope, with pointed, buoyant lines that make you smile as they pierce your heart. Made for You and Me is a memoir about great people (with great dogs, too; funny how that works out) and their great new son going through a rough patch with grace and wisdom. Caitlin and her family will realize many dreams. And in the meantime, rather than despair, they have given us a sublime gift of a book."—Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday and the author of Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other"

There's a story of this country that doesn't get told a lot. Or told well. Of what it's like to not make it. Of having to say to yourself, and to your spouse and your child 'Listen, this isn't it. We need to try something else. We need to start over...from the very beginning.' Caitlin Shetterly's Made for You and Me is that story. Resonant and richly detailed, it takes you deep into the personal heart of the beginning of the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Then, somehow, via Venice, California, backwoods Maine and 3000 miles in between brings you out the other end."—Kai Ryssdal, host of NPR's Marketplace"

Caitlin Shetterly was brave to leave home, braver to come back, bravest to tell a hardluck yet finally redemptive story of how she and her passionately devoted husband fought life to a draw in their coast to coast to coast odyssey. Kerouac would be proud. In fact he might be envious."—Peter Davis, Academy Award winning director of Hearts and Minds

Library Journal
Writer, actor, and dreamer Shetterly and her aspiring-photographer husband packed up and traveled cross-country to California to pursue the American dream. But Caitlin's unplanned and difficult pregnancy, the implosion of the American economy, and an impossible job market forced them back home. The big picture of Shetterly's journey is already familiar to her NPR listeners, but this fills in details and answers questions too complicated for a sound bite.What I Am Telling My Friends Honestly, it's hard to be sympathetic regarding Shetterly's concerns about organic food and wardrobe issues. The bottom line is her family wound up back home, safe and sound with medical insurance. They aren't the Joads, no matter how many references to Steinbeck and Guthrie there are. —"Memoir Short Takes", Booksmack!, 12/16/10.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401396619
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
03/08/2011
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,090,088
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Isabel Gillies
Caitlin Shetterly's lovely, moving account of her small family's journey to seek out and attain the sometimes elusive American dream will resonate with anyone who has had a tough time, and who hoped and tried hard to keep going. (Isabel Gillies, author of Happens Every Day: All All-Too- True Story)
Reeve Lindbergh
Caitlin Shetterly has written an eloquent, thoughtful, and courageous account of a young couple in the midst of a devastating economic crisis. A sense of the present, here and now, is startlingly real, and a feeling emerges that this new generation is facing challenges we have not seen since the time of their grandparents. (Reeve Lindbergh, author of Under a Wing: A Memoir and No More Words: A Journal of My Mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
Terry Tempest Williams
In a world of uncertainty, we are offered a thoughtful pause, from a writer of uncommon resonance, heart, and verve. When Caitlin Shetterly and her husband, Dan, moved to Los Angeles, California, in early 2008, they never imagined they would be among those who would find themselves in a terrifying economic free fall—out of work, far from family, with options dwindling. In Made for You and Me, Caitlin's memoir of that time, she has written an open letter to all of us, mobile or rooted, about what it means to search for one kind of 'American Dream' and yield to another.

Made for You and Me is a chronicle of change through love— sometimes painful, sometimes funny, often moving. What matters about this book is its revelation that what we think we want is not what we really need, which is family, community, and a meaningful life. This book will make many, many people feel less lonely in the world. (Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and Finding Beauty in a Broken World)

Jane Brox
With her candid, open-hearted account of dreams and ambitions waylaid by the Great Recession, Caitlin Shetterly has given us a chronicle of our hard times. Her young family's bewildering journey across the country and back again ultimately stands as a testament to both resilience and reliance. This is a beautifully-told story informed by a sharp eye and a generous spirit. (Jane Brox, author of Five Thousand Days Like This One: An American Family History and Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light)

Meet the Author

Caitlin Shetterly is a freelance writer, contributor to National Public Radio, actor and the Founder and Artistic Director of the Winter Harbor Theatre Company. She makes her life in Portland, Maine with her husband, the photographer Dan Davis, their son and their dog Hopper.

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