Sunday, March 12, 2006
A woman slips in the New York City slush a few days before Christmas, dumping her just-bought presents in the muck, and decides, ``Bah, humbug. Who needs all this stuff, anyway?''
And thereby, she decides to spend the next year without shopping. At all. Well, except for necessities.
That's the premise behind Judith Levine's memoir of how she didn't contribute to consumer spending in 2004. Her tale, ``Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping,'' is often funny, sometimes illuminating, sometimes provocative.
It sounds like a book someone should have thought of writing a long time ago, as it's quite overdue and it's really a very interesting psychological experiment.
However, the reporter asks at the end of their article: "What's a writer [Judith Levine] who makes $40,000 to $45,000 a year doing with $8,000 in credit card purchases?"
So maybe this writer had been brainstorming for quite awhile for ideas to write a book that would be catchy enough to fetch much more than 40 grand a year and she finally comes up with this "no shopping for a year" idea and then colors it up by saying it was some holiday shopping flash inspiration that finally went off.
I haven't even looked at one page of the book, but it makes me suspicious that it's full of invented anecdotes, like the "based on a real story" movie flicks that are often 90% fictionalized to make it more entertaining and marketable. Depending on how she treated the subject, however, it could still be both insightful and funny.
I could certainly write a book like this from my own (involuntary) experience. ;-)
Consumerism is a very powerful force, and most people hate to acknowledge it dominates them much more than they control it.