*NOTE* My name is Courtney, and I am using my husband's profile to review this book, as amazon does not allow me to review books on my own since I haven't ordered anything with it yet.
After seeing the strong, dissenting reviews of this book, I was rather wary about getting it. However, a woman I highly respect recommended it to me, so I gave it a go. This isn't going to be a gushy review like some of the others, but an honest review of the book for what it is, for what the author wrote it to be.
-Writing & Style: As others have mentioned, Carla Emery does include some details of her life in this book, BUT the information she also includes far outweighs them. I actually enjoyed reading the little tidbits that were left at the end of the chapter or a section, thoughts, dreams, heartaches, and just life. After reading it, I felt that I had met a best friend I always had. It made me be able to understand the author in a more personal way, and I appreciated it. I didn't find her writing dry or tedious at all, but full of life, full of vivacious life. Carla Emery personally states that the book was a sort of journal of her journey in living a country life, almost a notebook of information she kept while experiencing it all. Her writing style, even when describing information, is always personal, warm, and interesting. The book is VERY easy to understand, the language not like a textbook or encyclopedia one would normally read. It was a JOY to read and learn from.
-Resources and Information: Unlike what others have said, I am a new reader and YET have found a wealth of information in this book. A lot of info is contained in the massive volume, but Miss Carla has included printed on page tabs for easy navigating, as well as a detailed index in the beginning of each chapter.
I would also like to mention that Carla includes a large amount of resources, including websites and book recommendations for further reading on certain subjects. The info contained here covers buying property, saving money, starting homestead, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees and bushes, grains and grasses, food preservation, pigs, poultry, sheep, cows, and more. I greatly benefited from the seed catalogue references she included, a whole section for Canadians. She also gives a wide variety of recipes for homemade products and everyday meals. Her detailed explanation on the canning process was a great help to me as most books I read did not explain it step by step.
-Printing and Quality: The copy that I received was not one you see in the picture, but the edition before it, I believe. I have seen this current edition and noticed that the paper was much thinner. In my edition, I found nothing to complain about. It does have a lower quality paper, but so far it has stayed together nicely under 3 months of extensive reading. The illustrations that are included are not colour, and are drawn, rather than photographed.
-Flaws: There was nothing in this book about sewing, knitting, crochet, or any of that kind of art. I was quite disappointed in that as on the cover it says she writes about quilting, which a mere paragraph. I would have liked to see more of these things in here, as there is so much you can do with these skills.
All in all, this is a very useful book to have around if you are starting a homestead. I can see why it has become such a favorite, and in my mind, is not outdated at all. Highly recommended.