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The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale Paperback – January 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Reprint edition (January 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585428558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585428557
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) embarked with her three teenagers on a six-month screen blackout (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television) to discover if the technology intended to stimulate and keep us virtually more connected was, as she suspected, making us actually more disconnected and distracted. Ironically, Maushart may have gone screen-dark, but her writing remains riddled with "textspeak"--"LOLs," "WTFs," emoticons--and exhausting chipperness and self-conscious "hipness," which all distract from an otherwise intelligent and eloquent core text. Funny and poignant precisely when it is not trying to be, this book vacillates between diary entries (written longhand) and deeply researched reportage, which brings needed balance to the subject of new media, often touted as either the answer to all of our problems or the accelerant of societal doom. What Maushart's experiment uncovers is a commonsense conclusion: in a world of proliferating demands on our attention, exercising the on/off switch is the ultimate practice in understanding connection. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Australian journalist and single parent Maushart reports on her family’s decision to take a figurative six-month voyage into an unplugged life—easier said than done when your family consists of three teenagers! No wonder she describes the “voyage” as The Caine Mutiny, with her playing Captain Queeg. As it happens, the voyage is relatively storm free, though there are some squalls at the beginning. Maushart nearly goes through withdrawal after turning off her iPhone and finds that her work takes twice as long without a computer. In a way, the kids are more adaptable (perhaps because their mother offers them various bribes). They quickly learn how to do homework without access to Wikipedia and discover such joys as playing the saxophone and having sing-alongs. Interspersed with the family’s experience is a great deal of timely information about the impact of electronic technology on Generation M (8- to 18-year-olds), and not all of it is pretty. Nevertheless, the entire family is relieved when the experiment is over but delighted to discover that it has introduced them to ‘life itself.’ --Michael Cart

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Customer Reviews

After the first four chapters the book just seemed repetitive and boring to me.
Chris
Last night I finished The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart, just in time to count in my February list of books read.
Tina Says
The book should probably be required reading for teenagers, parents, social scientists, teachers and school administrators.
Charles F. Myers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Reddy on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
For those of us glued to our smart-phones 24/7, this is a must read. I laughed so hard while reading it that I actually forgot to check my text messages for a few hours. Maushart's 6 month device-free experiment proves that, while technology is necessary for some tasks, our obsession with it is distracting us from more rewarding aspects of life. Her wise words will stick with me, and remind me to unplug - at least once in a while.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chick on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I laughed my way through this book. It's brilliant! If you can only read one book this year, let it be this one. It's a vacation in and of itself.
Oprah, People Magazine, USA Today, and Reader's Digest all say it's fabulous. I agree!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Berschauer on August 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I suspect most parents can relate to the topic presented here - whether it's today's infatuation with digital gadgets, or yesterday's infatuation with analog gadgets. The idea for "The Winter of our Disconnect" is a good one, but 265 pages was a bit much. Ms Maushart seemed to run out of new material at roughly the halfway point, and had to repeat already often-made points to pad the book out to novel length.

Ms Maushart does a good job of relating her personal experiences to behavioral research. Unlike some other reviewers, I found the statistics interesting, and even affirming at times. The writing style is casual and entertaining - I brought this book home with me because the first few pages were truly funny. The snarkiness wears out its welcome after a while, but either becomes less frequent, or this reader just started ignoring it.

After about 100 pages, it seemed that Ms Maushart had said about all she had to say on "The Experiment". That didn't stop her, though, and my interest really waned. The book became a struggle until the last 50 pages or so where the narrative started to shift to the end of The Experiment. Instead of the 100 pages of repetition, it would have been more interesting - as another reviewer noted - to take the story beyond The Experiment's end to recount lasting impacts/changes (or reversion to the way we were?).

All in all, a decent story I could relate to. It had its faults, but it was interesting to experience the author's personal account play off professional research and my own experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Benedict on February 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Which do you prefer - sex or a pastrami sandwich?" one guy asks another, though it's not a proposition but a light-hearted survey. "To tell you the truth," the other guy says, "sometimes the sandwich." This exchange is lodged in my memory, overheard a dozen years ago at a restaurant.

It reminds me of a scene from last Sunday at the Buttercup Bake Shop near my apartment, a heartbreaking power struggle involving competing temptations: technology, love, and sugar. I watched a girl, about ten years old, eat a cupcake and try to get her mother's attention, but Mom had eyes and fingers only for her iPhone. There was no evidence she'd even eaten a cupcake. She scrolled through emails for the entire time I sat next to them, twenty minutes. iPhone 1 - Cupcake 0. iPhone 1 - Daughter 0.

It made me sad to see the girl looking so bereft - and stuffing her face with mounds of sugar while Addict Mommie's eyes bored into the screen affixed to her palm. And sadder still because I had just finished Susan Maushart's terrific book about this very problem - our screen fixation and what it does to family life. The title says more than most do: The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to the Tell the Tale.
It's one of a number of smart new books that examines the down sides of our brave new world. Evgeny Morozov's Net Delusion: the Dark Side of Internet Freedom argues that the Internet does not have a liberal, pro-democracy bias, and that repressive governments use it more than we know to further their nefarious aims.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cristian Chavez on April 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all let me start by saying that I didn't choose to read this book. It was assigned for my English class although I don't regret it, and actually found it to the most part interesting. Its about the author, a single mother of 3 media technology dependent teenagers living in Perth, Australia that decides to do a 6 month media technology free experiment. Which meant no one in the house could use any tech gadget like computers, iPods, cellphones etc. I found the book very interesting because as a media technology addict I could relate to what she said and even though I am not using media technology any less than I was using it before reading the book, at least now I know more about the subject of media technology; how it affects our lives, how it helps us and just more conscious about its use. If you feel you use media technology like Facebook, twitter or any other you should definitely read this book and learn from it because as media natives we sometimes don't tend to realize the effects this has on our lives, and don't worry this book wont make you stop using them it will just make you more conscious of its use. This is a very well researched book. I didn't love her writing style and found it confusing sometimes but its definitely not as bad as some other reviewers say. If you really want to know more about media technology in todays life with interesting details, examples and even better with a detailed 6 month experiment of how it is to live without it, than this is the book for you and I am sure you will enjoy and learn from it.
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