Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Buying It: Could you make it for one year without shopping?

Not Buying It: My Year Without ShoppingNot Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Other readers have criticized Levine's book chronicling her year of not buying anything beyond food and bare essentials, criticizing her for the fact that she and her partner live half the year in Brooklyn and half of the year in Vermont and own three (old) cars...or because she's a fish-eating vegetarian...or because she rants and raves about George W. Bush...or because she is embarking on a massive remodel of her house...or because they think she's whiney.

I think they're all being ridiculous and overly critical. What do I care if Levine has two living spaces (she rebuts her critics by saying that no one would be complaining if she and her partner were both single, living alone), or if she considers the New York Times as a daily essential (she is a New Yorker!)? Or if she finds a relation between the policies of George W. Bush and this country's obsession with buying things we cannot afford? (This book was written in 2005, and now look where Bush's policies have led us.) She does acknowledge how unnecessary the remodel is, after she's a few months into not buying it...and I think she learned a lot about herself during the year.

Although I did find a couple of her confessions to be annoying--the fact that she only pays $0.25 for admission to New York's museums and then is disgusted at the looks she gets from the cashiers, and how little she donates to charity in spite of being a politically engaged liberal, and the question of whether I would really like the author if I met her in person--overall, I found the book to be interesting and thought-provoking. It has made me think about my own personal relationship with my possessions and my own "diposaphobia." It's made me think twice about going shopping just for fun and think instead about enjoying the (too many) things I already have.

I found myself dog-earing the pages (which my husband hates), and noticed that the pages had been dog-eared before. This is a sign of a good nonfiction book that makes people think!

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