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on May 5, 2014
I really did enjoy reading this book. Schaub is a very funny and readable writer, but the premise was a little suspect. Not that I begrudge Schaub and her family the monthly sweet treat, but when she started to add up all the small sugar transgressions they couldn't help committing as a family, not to mention the fact that her kids seemed to be getting a healthy dose of sugar when she wasn't looking, I wondered why she had chosen such a misleading title. My family and I eat less sugar than this family did during their year of no sugar! Although Schaub claims that her family ate pretty healthily already, I have to wonder. I make meals every day, and have been for years, that don't include a bit of sugar. I eat bread without sugar, tomato sauce without sugar, etc etc. It just seems to me that this family was eating a boatload of sugar before their big year "without" and that's why it was such a revelation. I mean her kids had dessert every night before the experiment! And I wonder why, after Schaub discovered dextrose (which is technically still sugar just not fructose) and its ability to make a passable dessert, didn't she just adopt it wholesale as a dessert and baked goods sweetener. There are people on a committed whole foods diet that eat 100 times better than this family did for a year. I had to question some of Schaub's choices in the name of avoiding sugar: chips and cheese for lunch! Really? Honestly with all the preservatives in those two items she would have been better off having a salad with a little dressing. And none of the restaurants had oil she could have put on a salad? I live in New England in a rural area similar to Schaub's, always have, so I'm not pampered with better choices than she had.
I also didn't quite follow the chicken slaughter tangent. I understand raising and killing your own livestock but she treated the whole thing like a field trip.
All in all I think this was kind of a gimmicky book that slowed down and became less interesting in the last 1/4. Very funny and interesting in parts, but definitely not a year of NO sugar.
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on April 27, 2014
The science in beginning was interesting. Her style of writing was enjoyable. But the quality of writing fell off midway through. And let's be honest... her experiment wasn't even close to being "A Year of No Sugar." It was a year of attempting to reduce processed fructose as much as possible, while making several exceptions for birthdays/social gatherings, and occasionally turning the other cheek for lack of preparation. And the whole family was pounding down Lara Bars and homemade desserts that were sweetened with dextrose, dates, raisins, bananas, etc. for the whole year. I had hoped to learn about her physical experience and the healing that could occur within the body when it gets reprieved of the burden of sugar. But sadly, there was none of that. Because sugar is sugar... and dried fruit substitutes don't really allow your body to make that shift. Instead there were several stories of the headaches and feeling like crap that came on when she DID eat large quantities of sugar throughout the year. Oh well! I appreciate the point that the author was trying to make. But in my opinion, it fell short.
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on August 11, 2015
First, I love the writing style. This writer is engaging and interesting. She comes across as real. I hope to read more of her work in the future.

Having said that, I had two major issues with this book.

My first problem with this book is that much of it seems to be based on the premise that sucrose is bad and evil but dextrose (also known as glucose) is just fine. The science does not seem to support that. Plus the whole premise is supposed to be going without sugar, not replacing normal table sugar with some esoteric mail order sugar substitute.

Also, the author and her family seem to make a huge number of exceptions to the concept of going without sugar. Even if you ignore the dextrose, you also have exceptions for birthdays, holidays, what the kids eat at school for the most part, plus that one sugar laden official dessert per month. It seems to add up to more exceptions than seems reasonable given that the premise of the book is going without sugar for an entire year . Not three or four weeks or until the next family event.
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on August 6, 2014
I really wanted to like this book after reading about on NPR and I never posted a book review. I haven't read her blog and based on her writing, I think I would actually like her personally. Well frankly I agree with her on a lot of things, such as being hyper-vigilant to keep your family healthy, taking on extreme challenges and even her views on meat and veganism were interesting. However, I bought and read this book for two reasons. Reason #1: I wanted to learn how she kept a whole family off sugar for a year. That is why this book gets 3 stars. She explains that and the trials and tribulations of going off sugar for a year.

Reason #2: I wanted to learn about the outcome of having a whole family "off" of sugar for a year. I feel like I didn't really get any of that. There was a lot of reasons "why" she did it, I don't think she adequately explained any real benefit. From what I could gather, it seems like she lost her taste for sweets but aside from that and the fact her children were out of school less (which could also be because the kids had free reign to choose what they wanted to eat in school), I saw no real outcome from it, except she was doing more baking and exposed herself to the joy of figuring out how to substitute dextrose in everything (which seems like a pain in the butt and something that would be extremely difficult for many people with time strapped lives). So the book really left me unsatisfied because I was looking for a tangible outcome aside from that they now eat less sugar. Something along the lines of now we are fitter, happier, healthier, and here's why. It was really reminded me of a joke without a punchline. I feel like this book left me uninspired and thus despite the really engaging idea, I will be unlikely to recommend it to others.
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on March 25, 2017
I mostly enjoyed this memoir about a family who spent an entire year gong without added sugar. That is an enormous undertaking and most people would either shy away from it completely or not be able to get through it. This family does and their experience is recounted here. I liked the author's writing style. She is funny and honest and the book reads like a long blog of her project, more of an odyssey. Of course, living without sugar causes the, to have to make much of their food from scratch and this leads the author to question more deeply the disconnection of people in the modern age from what they eat and since eating is a way of social an cultural way of bonding, from each other. This questioning leads her to spend time with people who produce most of their own food, including killing their own chickens.

The caveat is when she goes to visit them, the description is quite graphic and when her friend turns to her and asks is she'd like to try it, she doesn't refuse. If this kind of scene would upset you, either skip over it or avoid the book. The scene depressed me and detracted from my enjoyment of the book to some degree even though i could see what she was getting at and connecting it to the overall narrative. She used o be a vegetarian but discovered that she felt much healthier eating meat ad went back to it. I have the same experience. I was vegetarian and developed a health problem that going back to eating meat helped to heal. This fact is an inner struggle for me and while it may be hypocritical to eat meat and not want to do the killing, i just have to live with the fact that i have this dichotomy inside me and it and was upset reading that scene.

The other thing that upset me is something I've noticed has made its way into common usage in our language. The author, in having to limit her daughters sugar intake even when it upset them, referred to herself as a sugar nazi. She uses the phrase a couple times in the book. And then on another occasion just after they finished their year of no sugar, she says in a restaurant that it felt nice to just order their food rather than put the waitress through the Spanish inquisition asking lots of questions about the sugar in the food. At first i thought, okay, maybe the author is jewish and if she is, it would take the sting out of her using such phrases so casually, but then at some point she refers to her german ancestry and growing up going to church. So a person of german christian ancestry casually using the phrase nazi and Spanish inquisition made me cringe. It did hinder my enjoyment but at the same time, i also realized she is not a crazy antisemite, she is using common wordage these days but i really hate when people use that expression. Anyone with proper knowledge of what happened in nazi Germany and during the Spanish inquisition would really be more sensitive. Honestly, i would tell her to pull the book, fix those things and rerelease it. I am a publisher, i know what it takes to do that but i would do it anyway in this case. If you think I'm being oversensitive, then you have never been treated with antisemitism and don't know what it feels like.

The takeaway of this review is that it is a good book with a likable writing style and has a good message about food and about the syndrome of how much sugar we consume these days and how saturated our diet is with it, making us unhealthy in epic numbers. However, the two points i mentioned hindered my complete enjoyment which is why i gave the book four stars instead of five. Quite reasonable in the face of feeling like there was some real insensitivity in the language at times.
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on November 28, 2015
A hilarious take on a terrifying subject! Giving up sugar for a whole year seems like an impossible feat in our society, Eve shares the ins and outs of the everyday and makes it seem almost do-able. Great read!
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on March 13, 2017
Am enjoying this book! Some great ideas and author keeps my attention and interest!
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on March 21, 2017
we should all do this
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on February 4, 2016
I was only happy about one page of the book where the author quoted some academic research facts.
The book felt like staying with a very talkative women for ages.
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on June 21, 2014
The title of this book is completely wrong, it should be called 'A year of pretending to go without sugar'! Going without sugar means NO sugar, it does not mean being allowed to keep having one sugary treat that you can't give up or being allowed to have a sugary treat once a month, or in the case of the children whenever they felt like it! Completely bogus book, don't waste your money!
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