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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
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
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 ›
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.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
A brief but enlightening look at America’s “Go Big or Go Home” consumerism. The author isn’t strident – she freely admits to the allure of the Hummer she tests drives, for example. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Susan C. McConnell
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
There are eleven stand alone chapters in this amazing book. Each chapter is filled with facts, insight and personal experience written with a delightful sense of humor and wit. Read morePublished on January 12, 2011 by Dominion
Really enjoyable read. Very well written: entertaining, interesting, insightful and informative. Skilled command of language. Really unique combination of ideas. Read morePublished on December 10, 2010 by A.B.
It's not often a book that is so interesting and informative is also so much fun to read, and so thought provoking. This book would be a great choice for a book club to discuss. Read morePublished on December 5, 2010 by Njmovascpa