The cabin or cottage is a romantic setting of many an American’s dreams. Some utilize the cabin as a spartan get-away, a place of solitude and introspection. Others use the cabin as the model for consumption, outfitting the domicile with all the bells and whistles as home for the toys with wheels, hulls or sled. Fewer still call cabin home, year round, not as a escape.
In Cabin, from Boston Univeristy journalism professor Lou Ureneck, we’re introduced to the former cabin, a place for introspection and rejuvination. A simple real estate transaction Ureneck did not undertake. No, instead the man who makes a living in teaching, decides to build his own place in the woods.
And that is where the story really begins.
Ureneck’s Cabin takes place over a year, from the rekindling of the dream of a remote cabin in Maine, through actualization of the space, to building and completion. Along the way Ureneck makes mistakes, finds successes and realizes a dream.
Ureneck, a rabid fisherman, is a unique in the timeline of modern man. He is a man-of-letters, as well as outdoorsman. In a generation, can anyone imagine computer programmers ditching their iPhones and dreams of writing codes to pick up a rifle and hunt in the deep woods? Or the digitally connected young professional walking away from Foursquare and going off the grid to cast a fly on an unnamed stream? Fewer ‘white-collars’ might find this path rewarding, more a nuisance to their wired lifestyle.
Ureneck unplugs, not taking it easy by simply buying an already made cabin, but by stressing his body to achieve his dream of a place to call his own. In Cabin, Ureneck with his brother Paul, his nephews and a few odd-ball New England characters push earth, raise timber and clear a place that is close to heaven.
Cabin captures, in small shots, the flavors and excentricties of New Englanders. Working class to the marrow, yet quirky and opinionated. An old kind of quirky, a byproduct of being the longest thickly settled area of America, that breeds fierce independence and boundless generosity. As a native of the Commonwealth, the reader of Cabin found authenticity in Ureneck’s portrayal of the rugged men of New England, for all their pros and cons.
Cabin is a simple story about a man, his family and lots of lumber eventually pieced together to form a cabin and a life. Along the way however we are treated to a man that normally doesn’t appear on the shelves these days, a quiet man with passion and a desire to walk away from the world for a little while and find a place, and a state of mind, that is the rural cabin.
Cabin belongs on your bookshelf, whether it’s in the city or country.
Cabin by Lou Ureneck was received for free for review by Boston Book Bums