Every now and again I go through stages where I feel the need to dramatically declutter and simplify my life. They are typically intense, but brief, although over the course of many of them, I have honestly made some progress in voluntarily cutting down on my very typical American attitude toward consumption.
I've done well in a number of arenas, from fashion (I have a limited wardrobe, which I wear until it must be replaced. I save a lot of money this way), to kitchenware (I've decluttered a lot, and now limit myself to non-single-use items), to hair/makeup (I've refined myself to about a three minute makeup routine, and my "going-out look" is basically exactly the same as my "going to work" look and my "oh, look, it's Saturday, I think I'll read look.")
Books, well, we're just going to ignore that elephant in the room. I figure that if I am relatively austere in other areas, I can buy all the books I want. I don't complain about my husband's vices - golf and his love all things aquarium - so he can just live with mine. At least it isn't heroin.
Anyway, during these brief but intense periods of self-improvement, I often will read books about consumption, economics, personal finance, simplicity, decluttering, etc. I find other people's opinions and narratives fascinating.
Which brings me to this one. Because one of those periods is coming on (which causes me to wonder if it is related to spring. Must contemplate this), so I've been digging around in scribd for FREE STUFF to satisfy the yen.
Which is how I found this book.
This is quite a long lead-in to the brief review that will come next. I nearly DNF'd this one, but I was diverted enough by my near complete loathing of the author to continue to the bitter end. She was a strange combination of clueless, entitled, and self-righteous. OK, maybe that isn't that strange. Occasionally, she would have a flash of insight, but near as I could tell, her year of not buying stuff involved a massive home renovation (for which she gave herself permission to buy stuff. Figure that out) of her Vermont home, and sponging off her friends, who still wanted to go to movies and stuff, so they paid for her ticket. She also had a fourth floor walk up in NY. Her idea of deprivation was, apparently, buying the cheap toilet paper.
Anywhatever, the thing that was most fascinating about the book was that it was published before the second GWB administration (nearly 12 years ago now), and so many of the concerns haven't changed at all. It was both a strange time capsule (her Vermont hamlet was arguing about the installation of a cell tower. 12 years ago, they didn't have cell service. It feels like near complete cell coverage has been in existence for far more than a single decade), and total deja vu.
Can't recommend it. Didn't particularly enjoy it. But certainly found it interesting. And that, as they say, is that.
Edit: I guess I should also add: I don't think I learned anything from her experience. We are worlds apart.