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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The House That Dorothy Built by Dorothy Ainsworth is an empowering nonfiction work about a woman who takes a chance on an unforgettable dream. This is a collection of articles that Ainsworth has written for Backwoods Home, with advice and how-to guides that contain humor and personal anecdotes of her life. Her story is an inspiring message for people to pursue their dreams, no matter how crazy they sound, and to triumph in the face of struggle. She includes the moment the house she built burned to the ground, and how they rebuilt a new one. Her story is remarkable, because she kept persisting and never gave up. From building a tree house to making a log crib to eating healthily on a budget, there's something for everyone to relate to.
One of the important things about nonfiction is for the narrator to be likable. When the narrator isn't, everything falls apart. Dorothy Ainsworth doesn't have this problem. She's honest, laid-back, and friendly, making The House that Dorothy Built a charming story of hope, persistence, and determination. The advice in her how-to articles isn't patronizing; it's uplifting and helpful. Her sense of humor is subtle, but effective: “When a tornado hits, this Dorothy will see you in Kansas.”
In one article, she talks about wanting her story to be “an inspirational human-interest story that may help men and women alike throw off the shackles of convention and forge ahead with their own dreams of affordable alternative lifestyles.” This spoke volumes to the theme of her message in each article. Each piece of advice she shares from her own life is to help other people have courage and faith in themselves, to believe that they can do anything. A must-read for anyone chasing a dream, or building a house.