Freecycling for Beginners starts out with a chair. Jane and her husband bought it for their first home and now, widowed, and downsizing to a flat, Jane knows it has outlived its use. Yet she is loathe to take her husbands beloved chair to the tip. It needs TLC but has years of use in it still, and so she advertises it on the Freecycle website. In very short order her chair is claimed by a struggling artist who needs a striking prop for her portraits.
Thus the ball starts to roll in a skillfully constructed, multi-stranded, narrative. Each thread begins in apparent isolation, weaving to and fro as unwanted ball gowns are claimed for hard-up mum for her daughter’s, prom queen needs a lift to that prom and so on and so forth. Goods and favours are passed forward and those strands overlap in such a way that lives are changed in subtle and often profound ways.
I especially liked the way that, though each transaction is completed to everyone’s satisfaction, some of them remain slightly ajar – with a hint of melancholia residing in at least one of them that makes you pause for thought. Think Love Actually where the actions of each protagonist affects the next despite many of them never meeting and how those lives must carry on after the credits roll.
Freecycling For Beginners is a commentary on the need to stop waste by re-purposing material goods but also focusses on the passing forward of small acts of kindness along the way.