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From the author of Jailbirds and one of Elle's '50 Game Changers' (2019) comes a timely exploration of different forms of living together.
Seventy-six per cent of British adults feel that we have become more distant from our neighbours. We are less likely than our grandparents, or even our parents, to know the names of our neighbours, to enjoy multi-generational friendships or to share resources and childcare. With mental health at epidemic levels, the climate crisis worsening, and society feeling increasingly divided, this game-changing book asks whether there are better ways to live.
Mim Skinner sets out to explore communities that have rejected individualism and nuclear family life in order to embrace a more collective way of living. As she meets those who have had the courage to imagine a better world and start living it - in countercultural hippy communes, the disability led L'Arche communities, queer safe spaces, environmental campaign groups, rehab support networks and more - she asks how each is tackling the social issues of our time and finding greener and more connected ways to be together.
Mixing memories and reflections of her own unconventional upbringing with interviews and research into the international history of communalism, Mim Skinner challenges her own assumptions as well as ours as she searches for a more meaningful way of life and finds multiple options for alternative ways of living - from commercial co-living developments for time-starved urbanites to off-grid farm communities, low-cost co-operative estates and collaborative parenting schemes.
The result is an eye-opening snapshot of alternative communities and a much-needed new perspective on the concept of wellness. It asks whether individualism can ever give us the tools to live in healthy and equal ways and offers a glimpse into the possibility - and also the pitfalls - of life lived differently.