The veteran actor’s latest memoir chronicles the pastoral life she and her husband, actor/director Timothy Busfield, lived during the early days of the pandemic.
In 2020, Gilbert and Busfield left their New York City apartment to live full time in their rural “Cabbage,” a cross between a cabin and a cottage. They renovated the house, started raising chickens, and began farming the land, all while trying to adjust to the slower pace of life outside of Manhattan. That transition began in 2013, when they married and moved to Michigan. “Life was simple, personal, intimate, and very different from LA,” writes Gilbert. “I melted right into the slow lane.” Of course, that did not last for long. The author got involved in the Michigan governor’s race and then became a Democratic candidate for Congress, though she had to drop out of the race due to the return of a neck injury and recurring chronic pain—not to mention the vagaries of politics, which included up to eight hours each day “dialing for dollars.” However, the bulk of her book is about the couple’s move to the country and what they learned there during the pandemic. “Maybe all the time in the country has made me more philosophical….We are being given an opportunity to see the consequences of our disregard for our home and each other,” writes the author. “We are being asked what really matters. What do we need to do to survive into the future?” Via breezy, seemingly effortless storytelling, Gilbert shows us how less can be more, fashioning a rapidly paced, straightforward tale about slowing down into life in quarantine and the opportunities that presented. “If I can help make someone feel less isolated, scared, or lonely,” she writes, “I am doing my job.”
A sparse, lovely ode to the discovery of the simple life amid a global pandemic.