Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds---Why Going Bigger Isn't Going Better Hardcover – October 26, 2010
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Wexler, a staff writer for Allure magazine, spent three years on the road, investigating America's worship at "the Church of Stuff." Wexler dives into America's new normal where bigger is better and our landscape is dominated by starter castles, Barbie boobs, megachurches and megamalls, jumbo engagement rings, mammoth cars, and landfills visible from space. 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). Though the book covers increasingly familiar postrecession "the party's over" territory with the depth of an extended magazine piece, Wexler brings a friendly first-person perspective to her study of surfeit and of the psychology behind our compulsion to consume and squander, why "living large" is defended by some as our "God-given right as Americans" and in other cases, might be downright unavoidable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“[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
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The author offers a wealth of information without making the task of reading it arduous. I'd even go so far as to call it a 'light read' because reading it was fully enjoyable. It gave me lots of fun facts to share with people, too.
I found it interesting that she used people she knows as examples. I wonder if her friendships with her friend that owns the McMansion & the friend that owns an obnoxiously large diamond engagement ring lasted after the book was released & they read her opinions of their choices of going bigger.
Her friend with the huge diamond ring talks about how uncomfortable it is when someone stares at her ring or makes comments about how big it is. She finds it rude. Well...come on lady! If you're wearing a diamond on your finger that is as big as a cough drop...people are going to notice & comment. Don't like it? Then don't wear your "cry for attention" piece of jewelry. I really don't care if a girl has a big diamond...but I don't want to listen to some girl with a huge diamond complain about people noticing it. Put a 3 karat diamond on your finger every day & expect people not to notice it? Ha! You wear a 3 karat diamond ring TO get noticed. No one thinks "Oh, no one will notice this" when they buy a 3 karat diamond ring...unless they already have a 5k ring they're gonna wear on a finger next to the 3k ring.
I think she could've found a better way to talk about big box stores than to follow a kid with terminal cancer around a big box store using his Make A Wish foundation wish. The poor kid is dying & is stuck in his room 24 hrs a day...almost bored to death...and this lady is following him around complaining about Americans & their need for affordable items. Does he "need" the stuff? Probably not, but come on...he is dying. Let him play video games to take his mind off of it instead of laying around in his bedroom with nothing to do other than laying around dying & thinking of dying. Should he literally die of boredom in his bedroom where he is spending his last days? I think not.
I think she should've selected someone else for this portion of her book. Instead of a kid with terminal cancer...maybe someone from the People of Walmart website? Just saying...
I am however on her side with respect to her feelings about the need to own a Hummer. I always find myself rolling my eyes when I'm sitting in traffic behind a huge a$$ Hummer. It's blocking my view in front of me so I can't see the street signs or upcoming traffic lights & I can't help but imagine that I am sitting in all of the harmful exhaust that is being released by the big a$$ gas guzzler. Did I experience a tiny bit of "Yeah, that's Karma for you" when I read that it cost more than $125 (in 2010) to fill up the gas tank in a Hummer? You bet! Fingers crossed they're paying closer to $150 now that gas is $3.79 in this area! Seriously, who needs a Hummer when you live in the burbs outside of DC? You're not hunting...deer or terrorists...get a normal car. It's more likely that the only thing you're hunting for out here is a parking spot...and good luck parking that massive hunk of metal in the teeny tiny parking spots in any parking garage in the DC Metro area.
I found it interesting to read about the "alls" compared to the "malls". I started to notice these "alls" popping up in the NoVA DC Metro area back in 2008/2009 & wondering if people would like them. Little neighborhoods that have it "all". Your condo/townhouse is built above/next to a clothing store, grocery store, dentist, daycare, dance studio, health club, etc. Your community/neighborhood has it "all" so there is no need to leave your "hood" & drive to a mall or a grocery store because it is all available within walking distance.
I think they're becoming more & more popular as evidenced by the increase in number of them in this area. Planners back in 2008 were on to something, I've noticed more & more of these types of communities/neighborhoods being built in this area.
However, they are much more expensive to buy/rent than in a regular subdivision/neighborhood. Convenience has a cost...and in this area, the cost is often much higher than some can afford. Lucky for the builders, this area has an obnoxious amount of people that are extremely affluent. I don't think they're trading in their McMansions to live in these communities...but the ones that didn't buy McMansions are moving from their condos/townhomes in traditional neighborhoods to these more convenient communities.
It's not the best written book but it's an easy read & there are some valid points made.
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. It just makes no economic sense and today at least 1/3 of these properties have been foreclosed. Another chapter that I enjoyed concerned the rise of what we call the "big box" stores. Here Wexler quotes quite liberally from Stacy Mitchell's fine book "Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses" which I read some years ago. Sarah correctly points out that in exchange for the lower prices offered by the Walmarts and Home Depots of the world there are enormous social costs that are associated with these humongous outlets. If you are not familiar with these important issues I urge you to get yourself a copy of this book.
Among the other varied topics covered in "Living Large" are the popularity of megachurches, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, breast enlargements, the Mall of America and super-sized engagement rings. Now as the title of the book suggests Sarah Wexler attempts to understand the psychology behind all of these troubling trends but for the most part she remains very skeptical about the wisdom of virtually all of these things. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed "Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds, Why Going Bigger Isn't Going Better". Perhaps that is because I am on board with most of her conclusions. This is an entertaining and well-written book that I can highly recommend.