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

After hearing Judith Levine on NPR the other day, I decided to pick up a copy of her book Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping*. My hackles rose at the recommendation from Barbara Ehrenreich on the back cover--I applaud Ehrenreich's purpose and conviction, but her books are so profoundly flawed that I think they actually do her causes a disservice. However, Ms. Levine's book doesn't pretend to be an Ehrenreich-style call-to-arms. Instead, Not Buying It is the story of one woman's attempt to distance herself from consumerist culture.

The book's concept is simple: Judith Levine and her partner, Paul, decide to limit their spending to "necessary" items for one year. They don't take the simple living concept to extremes--gourmet coffee is deemed a necessity, as is their home remodel, annual holiday party, and daily paper. Movies, books, clothes, gifts, and dining out, however, are off the table. Levine's experiment allows her to consider issues ranging from conservationism to her own difficulty in separating true need from desire.

Levine makes no pretense of being deprived (a smart move, seeing as she and her partner own two homes, three cars, and more than one pair of SmartWool socks), but her attempt to cut down on idle consumption is funny, self-deprecating, and genuine, and gives both her and the reader plenty of food for thought.

*From the library, because I couldn't bring myself to buy a book called Not Buying It.
Posted by: Julianka


No comments yet. Be the first!

No new comments are allowed on this post.