The Book: Homeward Bound

My non-fiction book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, was published by Simon & Schuster in May of 2013. It’s about the causes and possible consequences of the social phenomenon I’m calling “new domesticity” – the re-embrace of all kinds of old-fashioned domestic skills, like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. It’s now out in Japanese and Korean, if you read those languages.

Reviews of “Homeward Bound:”

“3.5 out of 4 stars” – People Magazine

“The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. Matchar synthesizes dozens of trend stories … into a single, compelling narrative about the resurgence of domesticity….Refreshing.”  –The New Republic

“I unreservedly loved it…It’s empathetic and funny and thoughtful and smart, and I encourage all of you to read it.”– The Hairpin

“[Matchar is] funny and self-deprecating, measuring herself against her interviewees with enough gentle sarcasm to hint at her skepticism toward some elements of the new domesticity.” – The Washington Post

“Matchar skeptically suggests that rhetoric of this stripe is a way of rendering stay-at-home motherhood a more “palatable option” for women whose actual reasons for embracing domesticity have more to do with the lack of structural support for working mothers in this country.” – The New York Times

“Matchar ably sketches a rough portrait of who [the typical New Domesticity type] is and why she fled the conventional comforts of the middle class: an uncertain economy, an uncertain earth, a family-unfriendly workplace.” – USA Today

“Matchar researches the trend of the “homemade, from scratch, DIY, straight from the backyard, fresh baked, [and] artisan” by visiting practitioners of the New Domesticity across the country—Etsy entrepreneurs, food bloggers, knitting circles—and she provocatively explores what the movement says about the role of women in society today.” – The New Yorker

“Matchar shines…in her ability to track and dissect the pendulum-like nature of cultural trends.” – Chicago Tribune

“Chock-full of historical context, strong research, and compelling personal stories…Matchar is a skilled, thoughtful writer, and in “Homeward Bound” she offers not only cultural insights but also empathy for the modern American idealist.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“Cogently argues that choosing a more hands-on, DIY lifestyle – family farming, canning, crafting, can, without sacrificing feminism’s hard-won gains, improve on an earlier time when ‘people lived more lightly on the earth and relied less on corporations, and family and community came first.’” – ELLE

“Matchar’s analysis of this cultural phenomenon is intelligent and insightful—essential reading for anyone who has ever felt inadequate or guilty for not DIYing it all.” – Christianity Today

“What Emily Matchar calls the “New Domesticity” encompasses everything from the revival of craftwork like knitting and needlepoint to the locavore movement to attachment parenting (although not every devotee embraces all three, a number do). And while the trend of “collective nostalgia and domesticity-mania speak[s] to deep cultural longings,” Matchar argues, it comes with negative (or at least troubling) side effects.” – The Boston Globe

“A lively and perceptive reporter… [Matchar] offers a valuable and astute assessment of the factors that led to the current embracing of domesticity and the consequences of this movement.”—Publishers Weekly

“A well-researched look at the resurgence of home life…. Offers intriguing insight into the renaissance of old-fashioned home traditions.”— Kirkus Reviews

Stories about Homeward Bound

“Timely and intelligent” – The Times of London

“One of the delights of Homeward Bound is how Matchar refuses to allow her initial sympathies for the new domesticity and its practitioners to blind her to the movement’s not insignificant downsides.” – The Guardian

“It’s easy to mock the twee, hyperlocal, handmade aesthetic that dominates fashionable enclaves in places like Brooklyn and Portland, Oregon. But in her new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, Emily Matchar makes a convincing argument that it actually represents a generational change in values born of a deep disaffection with the modern workplace, one with real implications for gender equality.”– The Daily Beast

“Matchar’s point is that pottering around at home and making something tangible is an emerging leisure pursuit – not just for stay-at-home mums…but for everyone.”- The Sydney Morning Herald

“A nuanced, sympathetic critique of the new domesticity” – Mother Jones

“Is the feminist movement to blame for our expanding waistline? In her book “Homeward Bound,”excerpted on Salon, author Emily Matchar points to food writers and experts who’ve pinned the problem on feminism…” – The LA Times

“She believes that the homemade weddings – including her own – are part of a larger trend of simplicity (which is anything but simple) and tradition (which is anything but traditional).- Sydsvenskan (Sweden)

Media Appearances

The Colbert Report

Good Morning America

MSNBC’s The Cycle

BBC News Hour

The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC New York Public Radio


The State of Things on WUNC North Carolina Public Radio

Think on KERA Texas Public Radio

The Conversation on KUOW Seattle Public Radio

Word of Mouth – New Hampshire Public Radio

This is Hell on WNUR Chicago

Voice of America (TV)

Judith Regan Show

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