2019 Reading Challenge. Self Reliance: Living Free.

Bram Van Munster is a common sight among users of social media and kindle readers. His first novella was released in 2018. Self Reliance: Living Free. At only 112 pages it is a very simple read. This is a great thing for those adults that want to get drawn into a story but do not have a lot of time to devote to reading a full length novel. 

The primary purpose of this book is to describe and entertain Bushcrafters like myself, and to teach others with an Interest in the same area of expertise.” 

                                                                                                       Bram Van Munster 

                                                                                        Self Reliance: Living Free. 

The story starts tracing the steps of the character Peter. Peter has disdain for the modern world and ends up striving to live a simpler life in the wilderness all by himself. I guess that is something that everyone of us have thought about at one time or another in our lives. The entire book is based around this principle. Part of the plot tried to play into the Post-apocalypse theme. This element came off too much as an afterthought.

More detail in the character interactions and the plot lines would have made a world of difference in this book. When you are thinking from the perspective of a reader and wanting to be engrossed in the story and the plot lines is where this novella falls short. There is simply just not enough character interaction. 

On the other hand, If you think about the book as a person telling his story to the world or as a man teaching you the ways he has developed for himself than you are in the right place. This book excels as a teaching resource. Munster gives the reader enough details to begin their thirst for the subject of survival. He refers to this as bush craft. I consider it survival. I say this because the main character is not out in the wilderness on a happy camping trip. This adventure into the wilderness is the last shot for him. He has placed himself into a do or die situation. Preparing in advance for the coming seasons and satisfying his daily needs are always front in Peter’s mind. 

When you consider this a survival manual of sorts you will not want to rely on just this. This type of bush craft survival technique is not for everyone. In fact is not reliable in the least. If you have enough training and knowledge then it might be possible. Nature is not about absolutes. Too many convenient situations happen in Munster’s vision of bushcrafting for it to be repeatable by the normal populace. Even if you have the experience than his vision might not be repeatable. 

In conclusion, I think this is definitely worth the read. Just do not rely on it as a survival manual. Unless of course you are into pottery than, this is the book for you.  This novella is available through amazon/kindle. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats in English and Dutch.

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