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Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds---Why Going Bigger Isn't Going Better Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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“[Wexler's] witty narrative makes her supersize warning easy to swallow and hard to ignore.” ―People Magazine, 3 ½ stars (of 4)
“Wexler reminds us that Americans have completely lost perspective, both literally and figuratively… Amusing and timely.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“By turns horrified, tempted, incredulous, guilt-ridden, mystified, and captivated by these excesses, Wexler approaches her subject with a compassion born of her own complicity (she's an SUV driver and enjoys her shopping)… Wexler brings a friendly first-person perspective to her study of surfeit and of the psychology behind our compulsion to consume and squander.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Wexler takes us on the most insightful couch-potato tour of American excess out there.… Filled with the comic irony of a Stewart or Colbert.” ―John de Graaf, coauthor of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
“I'll just say it, since someone has to: This is a hugely entertaining book.” ―A.J. Jacobs, author of The Guinea Pig Diaries and The Year of Living Biblically
“Perfectly timed. This is a gorgeous romp of sharp cultural criticism by one of America's big new voices.” ―Jeanne Marie Laskas, award-winning author of Growing Girls
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In "Living Large" Sarah Wexler devotes a chapter each to 11 different subjects. In the chapter entitled "The McMansion Expansion" she points out that "the average American home ballooned from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2349 square feet in 2004, a 140 percent increase in size." What makes this so disturbing is that due to our declining birth rate there is on average one fewer person residing in these houses than there were 50 years ago. Furthermore, many of these homes are poorly built and the cost to heat and cool them is astronomical.Read more ›
The author has a great style - funny, engaging, and very easy to process. There were a few things, though, that I didn't care for. For one, she jumps around quite a bit. I also found some of these connections rather forced. The chapter on debt, which features a visit to the World's Largest Ball of Twine, was a particularly good example of that.
My biggest issue with the book, though, was how lightly all this is treated. I know she writes for a fashion magazine, Allure. In their unoffending manner, the chapters in this book could easily have stood in as articles in that magazine.
What's odd is that she admits to having something of a radical past. She also devotes her last chapter to Freegans, people who basically squat in deserted buildings and pick through garbage for their food - and all of their own volition.
For such a gigantic problem, I guess I figured there'd be a little bit more outrage. Instead, we get a lot of mixed signals. Yes, Hummers waste gas, but they are kind of fun to drive. She talks about how big and costly engagement rings are getting, but never about the idea of blood diamonds. She seems to bend over backwards trying to show herself as guilty of doing all the things she writes about (I can't say "excoriates," as she never really does so).
A fun, easy-to-read book, but rather bland and definitely not fitting its more serious subject matter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this one & learned a lot.
I found it interesting that she used people she knows as examples. Read more
Well-written, provocative, insightful, and entertaining.
The author offers a wealth of information without making the task of reading it arduous. Read more
We give author Wexler big credit for making 1st-hand effort a focus of her work on this book. In research, she lived the ¡§large¡¨ life in one-on-one interviews and... Read morePublished on April 6, 2011 by ink & penner
There is nothing new in this book. There is nothing to recommend this book - no humor, no new research, no shedding light on this topic, no terrific writing. Read morePublished on February 16, 2011 by Sonja Harken