In an experiment sparked by a particularly arduous Black Friday shopping trip, author Judith Levine and her husband Paul impose a year-long moratorium on extraneous shopping and try to live off just the basic necessities.
I have so many issues with this book, I don’t even know how to articulate them. I will use bullet points to illustrate what I did and did not like about this book.
- During this year of “no-shopping” Levine and her husband underwent $25,000.oo in renovations to one of their 2 houses. (One in Vermont, and an apartment in New York.)
- $7.oo per pound of coffee is a necessity, yet socks and q-tips are not?
- Written as a diary, with each chapter dedicated to a month: Levine’s rants were boring, long-winded and particularly whiny. Why impose such strict sanctions if you’re going to complain about the entire ordeal or look for loopholes by mooching off of generous friends?
- There were many, many filler entries about local and nationwide politics that felt unnecessary and took away from the consumerism aspects of the book. I would have preferred a shorter book without the political preaching.
- Levine spent more time discussing economic policy and consumerism’s effects on society than she did discussing her own experiences with the no-shopping experiments. I still have no idea what she considers a basic necessity and what is a luxury. All I gathered is that she hated every minute of her experiment.
Although I appreciate the concept of the experiment, and think its always good for everyone to be more conscientious of what they are buying and whether or not it is a needed purchase, Levine’s writing really turned me off. I found myself skimming through a majority of the book. I didn’t connect to her as a reader, and I certainly didn’t feel any pity for her plight at being unable to go to the movies or the theater.Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine Free Press (imprint of Simon & Schuster), 2006 ISBN 0743269365 257 pages Book 15 of 2011 ************************* Find this book at your local library