Monday, January 21, 2008

Book review: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

I first heard of Not Buying It on the Simple Living Discussion Forums I believe. The opinion there was not all that positive honestly. Despite that, given there just are not that many books about not buying things (heh, perhaps because the target audience would not purchase the book?!), I decided I did want to read it. However, I picked it up from the library. My next best source,, had a waiting list of over 100 people for this book. In any case, I finally did find a copy.

First off, this is not your typical "how to" guide to not buying it or saving money (ala The Tightwad Gazette or similar), nor is it a "how to" philosophy or primer on simple living. It is one woman's year without buying (meaning without buying what she considers "unnecessary," so obviously purchased food and so forth), and her thoughts along the way. The chapters are the months of the year as she progresses along, both in her year and her thoughts, starting off very much in a consumer mindset and ending the year not only weathlier in monetary means but in life satisfaction as well. Along the way, I have to admit the book got tedious in places, and I skimmed some pages. Levine though touches briefly on many, many hot philosophical debates (green living, radical simplicity, regular simple living/downsizing, involuntary simplicity and consumer culture post 9-11 as a political statement just to name a few). Any of those could serve as a jump point for those interested in doing further reading. This book, again, is not a primer though and remains one person's memoir of her year "without shopping."

Overall, I enjoyed reading a well-articulated, if somewhat long-winded at times, account. Levine brought forward many interesting points of view. However, this is not a book I will seek out for my personal permanent library to read again (remember, my copy is a library book). So, my recommendation honestly is pick up a copy used or at the library. A side note here is the author herself did see the irony in an author writing a book about not buying. She has a good sense of humor. LOL.


Georgie Lee said...

Interesting topic for a book. However, if people didn't buy things then the economy would collapse and people would lose their jobs, their homes etc. That being said,people should live within their means and not purchase the things they can't afford. It would save a lot of people a lot of misery.

Kari & Kijsa said...

Thanks for the great review and thanks for entering our giveaway!

That book sounds very interesting!

Have a blessed day!

smiles, kari & kijsa