If you've ever contemplated cutting down on your consumerism but couldn't bring yourself to do it, Levine's volume allows you to witness and learn from this drastic experiment without going through the withdrawal yourself. Since giving up shopping entirely is impossible in North America (buying food requires money), the most interesting aspect of Levine's adventure is the process of defining necessity. High-speed Internet access, Q-tips and any soap fancier than Ivory, for example, are all ruled out as luxuries. With chapters divided by month, the book witnesses Levine's journey from enthusiastic experimenter in January to a still game but weary participant by the fall, as favorite luxuries run out and clothes become shabbier. As Levine trades in movies and restaurants for the public library system and dinner parties at home, she is forced to reflect on not only the personal indulgences she's become used to but also their place in defining her social space. Since this book is about exploring consumerism rather than economizing (although she does manage to save $8,000 by the end of the year), Levine investigates several anticonsumer movements—she joins her local Voluntary Simplicity group, participates in Buy Nothing Day and consults experts on issues of consumerism and conservation. Yet the most insightful aspect is Levine's account of her own struggle to keep down her day-to-day consumption of goods and to define the fine line between need and want. (Mar.)
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Other than phenomenal willpower and maxed-out credit cards, what does it take to simply stop purchasing for 12 months? Levine took the plunge--and found it irritating, exhilarating, thought provoking, and humiliating--among many other conflicting emotions. What's an inexpensive substitute for Q-tips? How to best gift a soon-to-be college graduate without spending any money? How to avoid the consumption seduction that lurks in every corner? Levine chronicles her feelings in this almost-weekly diary of the year of nonpurchasing. Many of her points are intentionally provocative; for instance, not buying makes her feel vulnerable and having to ask for help. Plus, her secondary sources, from the recently issued Trading Up (2003) to federal deficit projections and Socratic pronouncements, add a great deal of depth to a topic that could be perceived as frivolous. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The only thing I didn't like was near the end the extreme detail in the author becoming politically active. I loved the analyzing of the purchase of certain goods. Read morePublished 21 days ago by mscott
Wow! It was not easy but at least one person made it a full year. They did, however, have a good inventory before beginning.Published 2 months ago by Rate Amazone
This book has a timely premise, but was written in the most quickly dated way possible. Some of these shortcomings are unavoidable: the author didn't foresee the creation of Amazon... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Adam K.
I got this at the library. I am ashamed to say that I had to pay fee's for it being over due. I couldn't even finish reading it. It was that bad.Published 6 months ago by johnna malnar
Don't waste your money. Author didn't show her point of this experiment, not a very likeable person, bitter Bush hating spoiled yuppie liberal.Published 6 months ago by Midwest survivalist
This should be titled "Not Buying It: A Liberal Democrat's Year Without Shopping." Way too political and polarizing.Published 6 months ago by D. Carlson
I wouldn't recommend this book at all. This was so boring, hypocritical, self-absorbed and just one of those "wacky projects just to write a book about" kind of books. Read morePublished 7 months ago by C T
I "get" why so many people hated this book. The author and her boyfriend are quite wealthy compared to most people I know (they have two homes, which isn't common), and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Susan C. McConnell
Although I agree with the political and environmental points made in this book, this is just smug and elitist rambling from the perspective of a New Yorker who obviously lives a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sabine