Friday, March 18, 2011

My Review of "Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens"

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I don't know how you made your entry into the realm of preparedness, but for me, it started with someone on a homeschooling forum sharing a link to Food Storage Made Easy. (BTW, did you see they posted my Baked Oatmeal recipe last week? I feel so famous, he he! ;) One thing led to another and over the course of five or six months, I morphed into a full-fledged prepper. I downloaded charts and copied lists of prepping essentials. I scanned articles on blogs, websites, and any other sources I could get my hands on. I became a woman possessed with prepping.

Did I learn a lot by doing my own research? Yes, indeed. I was one motivated momma and, in case you haven't figured it out by now, I really enjoy this whole prepping business.

But what if you're just beginning a journey toward preparedness and you don't know where to start? Or maybe you want to share your knowledge with a friend or family member in an easy, unintimidating package? Have I found the book for you!

I recently checked out a copy of Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison. How I wish I had gotten this book a year ago! It contains a wealth of information for beginning preppers.

The author describes her OAR System, which stands for Organize, Acquire, and Rotate. She gives some ideas on how to find space for food storage, deciding what you need to store, as well as ways to use your food storage. Although it isn't as extensive as Peggy Layton's Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook, there are some useful recipes as well as some handy fresh/dry food equivalency and substitution charts. The author even inspired me to try making cheese from some of our powdered milk. I'll let you know how that goes!

In this book you'll find easy-to-understand information on storing water, bugging out, car kits, and dealing with a power outage, to name just a few of the topics. There's also a section on preparing for emergencies like tornadoes, pandemics, tsunamis, etc.

The Pros and Cons of this Book:

Is Just in Case a preparedness encyclopedia? No. You won't find instructions on how to raise rabbits, grow wheat, or set up a solar panel array. That is part of the reason why this is such a good introductory book - it is completely non-intimidating for newbies.  It is not the only book you should have in your survival library, but it is a fabulous place to start.

The biggest peeve I have with this book is that it doesn't provide a list of resources for further reading. Just in Case will whet your appetite to learn more but it leaves you on your own to find resources that go in further depth. For that, I recommend How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It by James Wesley Rawles. That book covers some different topics than Just in Case and also provides an extensive list of recommended reading.

All in all, if you're a beginning prepper or have someone you'd like to "convert", I'd definitely recommend this book.


  1. Oh my gosh! That was your oatmeal recipe? I tried it, and it is soooo yummy. My kids have been asking when I will make it again.
    As far as the book review. I have this one too. Your observations and critiques are pretty much the same as the ones I had after reading it.
    It's good as a *starter* book, but needs more depth.


  2. "Just in Case" was my introduction to prepping. I checked it out of the library a few years ago and then ordered my own copy. I have read it many times and now have expanded into more detailed resources as well as reading her blog.