Book Reviews of Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping

Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping
Not Buying It My Year Without Shopping
Author: Judith Levine
ISBN-13: 9780743269353
ISBN-10: 0743269357
Publication Date: 2/28/2006
Pages: 288
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 83

3 stars, based on 83 ratings
Publisher: Free Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

26 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
This wasn't nearly as entertaining as I expected it to be...too many political forays and "preachy" statements. Good reading when the author and hubby just discussed how they made accommodations by not buying...I learned to skip the opinionated parts and enjoy the rest.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
Thought this was going to be a very interesting book, but being from the Midwest I couldn't relate to the type of lifestyle that the author lived. Her notion of necessities certainly don't match those of most midwesterners. Would be an interested study to be replicated by someone from the Midwest who didn't have the opportunites that the author had (i.e. free days to go to a premier museum, current foreign film theatres, small markets with really cheap prices, etc).

Didn't like how the end of the book really went into mainly politics I doubt your average American can afford to give a couple of hundred dollars to a political party.

I will say this, it was an extremely interesting concept for a book.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 507 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I was disappointed in this book. The premise is an interesting one and in fairness it was probably difficult to get a book's length worth of material from the experiment. Not Buying It is told in diary format, but many of the entries are mini essays on consumer culture, globalization, etc. I enjoyed the sections when she met with individuals living off the grid and it was interesting to read about groups concerned about consumerism. Ultimately however I found many sections of the books boring - the author spent a lot of time rambling about problems that are so big that, by her own admission, an individual checking out of shopping for a year will have no impact on solving. That reality is so depressing that I was left wondering why she bothered in the first place with this experiment, and why I bought this book.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This book is mostly a rapidly-becoming-dated political screed about the author's feelings about the president, conservatives, and capitalism. If you don't share her politics (and possibly even if you do, because her musings aren't all that interesting or well-written), the book doesn't have much to offer. She spends more time flogging the Bush administration than she does exploring her own assumptions about which aspects of her own lifestyle count as "necessary" and which are "luxuries" afforded to her by the privileged place she occupies in society. All in all, this book was a disappointment.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on
Helpful Score: 8
The repetitive tangents espousing the author's personal politics completely ruined what could have been an interesting memoir. I wish she had attempted her experiment in a non-election year so I didn't have to read ad nauseum about her disgust with the outcome; I wonder what she would have spent those 50 pages writing about. Perhaps the intended topic of the book?

Disappointing and only mildly entertaining.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on
Helpful Score: 8
Add me to the list of readers who were disappointed with this book. I'm certainly glad I "only" spent a PBS credit on it, as opposed to buying it elsewhere. There were several interesting snippets throughout but overall, the author could not restrain herself from going on and on with various "extreme left" diatribes that unfortunately distracted from the valid criticisms of American consumerism. I didn't realize that this author lives part-time in Vermont - actually a couple of towns over from mine - so I did enjoy reading her descriptions of consumer issues unique to Vermonters - those were pretty much spot on. Overall, though, I would NOT recommend spending your time (or money) on "Not Buying It".
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I loved this book, it definitely was what it promised - the story of two people and thier year of buying nothing but the basics of life. She makes no secret of being proudly liberal, and she talks about politics a LOT - just fair warning. It's not in the slightest about how to make do on a small income...it's a memoir of an upper-middle-class (AKA the luxury goods marketer's main target) couple dealing with the pressures of living outside of their demographic (and that of thier friends).
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 297 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
It is interesting to watch a person who has three different types of salt and eight different types of rice in her kitchen try to decide what is a "necessity" and what she will deny herself. I also found it funny that someone taking on such a project would spend some time before they started stocking up on things they couldn't justify buying during the year to avoid temptataion.
The train of thought is fun to watch and criticize, and very different than mine would be, but it did let me think about what I would do in her place. Unfortunately, she is a bit scattered about why exactly she took on the project (except to write a book) and that shows through her writing. Regardless, it is an interesting experiment.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This was just okay. Far too literary for me and seemed very unorganized. She really went more into the history of shopping and frugality than what it was actually like to not buy anything for a year. It seemed like random chapters were just thrown in there to take up space and/or give the book intellectual credibility
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Very interesting. Told in a diary format. We all think we know how much we could save if we tried this experiment, but that's not really the focus of the book. A lot of interesting observations on modern life and consumerism. I was born in 1978 and it really fascinated me to hear from someone who lived through that time period in their twenty-something years.

Parts of this book kind of made me mad. Not at the author, but more from learning what life was like before crippling debt set in on everyone...
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 347 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The actual memoir aspect of her year of non-consumption works well; her ramblings about the philosophy/psychology of consumerism, along with the political commentary, detract.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Interesting, if a bit verbose, memoir of a year of buying only food and a few other necessities.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I didn't think much of the writer's style or how she executed that year. Maybe she wasn't buying, but others bought for her. She wrote about a lot of politics and things that really didn't have anything to do with the shopping topic. Not what I expected, and I didn't like it.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
An interesting concept, but the book dwells more on the rampant consumerism of the nation than of the consumer aspect of saving and not spending money. It leans more political than consumer driven.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 371 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Although I didn't agree with all of her ideas (such as people don't need religion/faith) I found some of her ideas quite fascinating. The book really made me think about why I buy things I don't really need and how I can cut back on my unnecessary spending. I had a hard time with some of the more academic portions of the book (she goes in depth about economics which I don't know much about) but I loved the parts about how she and her partner would argue about what items constituted a necessity (wine? ski socks? ski wax?) It took me a while to get into the book, and it was slow going, but I'm glad I read it.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I read this book thinking it would be about frugality. Even the blurb on the back cover suggests wit and since it's in a diary format I assumed it would cover a daily or near-daily struggle with not buying stuff or frugal substitutes. There was a little 'dry wit' and a few times I could identify or at least think a bit but this author and her partner tried a year without spending as part of a political/philosophical lifestyle. They both had their work-at-home careers (she's a writer and I think he is as well) and didn't particularly need to stop spending for financial reasons entirely. She's not a very good or interesting writer IMO - she rambles on on one topic then goes off on a Bush-bashing tangent then goes to something else political then ponders the alternative then goes back to Bush bashing then finally gets back to the financial stuff only to get political again. I really think someone wanting to read a liberal philosophical unresolved monologue would get more out of this than I did. I'm not sorry I read it; however I feel it has been mis-marketed.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 337 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Interesting concept, and well written. Levine offers insights into her thoughts during a year without buying anything beyond absolute necessities. She also spends a great deal of time reviewing studies of consumerism, as well as the effects of the industrialized, consumer society on the Earth. But to me the most touching part of the book was at the end, when she describes her husband Paul as "wistful" at the end of the experiment, realizing that turning their backs on so much drew them closer together as a couple.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 188 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Some of the reviews were critical, but I really enjoyed this book. I saw areas in my own "buying" that were quite excessive and I have really cut back on unnecessary purchases. I recommend it, with one exception. She is very vocal politically, and I didn't care for her using the book as a platform for bashing those who didn't think like she did. Other than that, well worth reading.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
When I was at the library this past weekend, I was looking for a friendly book about organizing the home. I saw "Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping" by Judith Levine. I thought it might be fun, an entertaining tale of not buying, struggling to do without or making your own, and so on.


Boy was I wrong!


Judith and her partner Paul decided one Christmas season to spend a year without buying anything, except for necessities. During this year, they continued adding on to one of their homes, one of three, including two in Vermont & one in New York City. They discussed selling one of three cars and decided they needed all three of them. They stocked up on several things to last them as long as possible before embarking on the first day of January with no buying. OK I can handle this. They made decisions I disagree with, but it's their life.


And then comes January 1st. No buying of new clothes, even though the t-shirt looks out of place in the ski lodge. No buying wax for the skis. Instead ask to borrow some. And the economy! It's all the fault of the Republicans and the religious! They are all dumb people. The whole book goes on like this: philosophical ruminations, and derogatory comments towards those of other persuasions. It is not a light-hearted book at all or one of really getting along without. No talk of big gardens to replace buying: no, food is a necessity and must be bought. Although the flowers in the flower boxes are replaced with tomatoes, not so much to help with eating but because buying flower bulbs is out of the question. Yet hair cuts at $55 a pop are also a necessity.


Don't worry - the book isn' all bad. There was one good thing about it: I didn't buy it but checked it out from the library and am going to return it asap!
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I agree that the concept of the book was great. I've always been interested in over-consumption and anti-consumerism. The book was rather political, and as a mom of 2, it was difficult for me to relate because she has no children.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 5454 more book reviews
It's the 4th book I've read this summer by citizens of Vermont bemoaning our consumerist society. I guess we'll all have to move to Vermont. This lady lived half of her life in NYC, I didn't quite identify with her lifestyle, and her perceived perils of non-consumerism.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 10 more book reviews
This book was interesting and thought provoking. I do not agree at all with the authors politics, but found it interesting how some people live thier lives, and the difference in thier perspective regarding thier lifestyle and mine regarding thier lifestyle. I felt it was well written, I was able to read it quickly because it kept my attention.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 9 more book reviews
This was an interesting book. I liked reading about how the author and her partner discovered ways to entertain themselves without spending money. I've read several of these "one-year project" type books and I always enjoy them.
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 174 more book reviews
When I was at the library this past weekend, I was looking for a friendly book about organizing the home. I saw "Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping" by Judith Levine. I thought it might be fun, an entertaining tale of not buying, struggling to do without or making your own, and so on.


Boy was I wrong!


Judith and her partner Paul decided one Christmas season to spend a year without buying anything, except for necessities. During this year, they continued adding on to one of their homes, one of three, including two in Vermont & one in New York City. They discussed selling one of three cars and decided they needed all three of them. They stocked up on several things to last them as long as possible before embarking on the first day of January with no buying. OK I can handle this. They made decisions I disagree with, but it's their life.


And then comes January 1st. No buying of new clothes, even though the t-shirt looks out of place in the ski lodge. No buying wax for the skis. Instead ask to borrow some. And the economy! It's all the fault of the Republicans and the religious! They are all dumb people. The whole book goes on like this: philosophical ruminations, and derogatory comments towards those of other persuasions. It is not a light-hearted book at all or one of really getting along without. No talk of big gardens to replace buying: no, food is a necessity and must be bought. Although the flowers in the flower boxes are replaced with tomatoes, not so much to help with eating but because buying flower bulbs is out of the question. Yet hair cuts at $55 a pop are also a necessity.


Don't worry - the book isn' all bad. There was one good thing about it: I didn't buy it but checked it out from the library and am going to return it asap!
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on
What an interesting concept to only buy necessities - and even then the author thought hard about the purchase.

This is a chronicle of the author and her husbands year long project of not buying things they did not need. I love her candor about her project and her writing in general. Before beginning, they shop and stock up.

During this project, they discover many free events and they make use of them. One was the public library. The author also talks about consumerism. Why do we buy the things we buy? Do we need them or is it because we have a coupon that expires which would make the price a steal? In the beginning, the author has a desire, almost a longing to buy something that is not needed. But by the end of the year, the she feels great about being able to walk through a store and not buy a single item. She doesnt feel any urges whatsoever!

I admire their dedication!

http://whateyeread.blogspot.com
reviewed Not Buying It : My Year Without Shopping on + 20 more book reviews
This book reads really well. I learned about a lot more than non-consumerism; the book far exceeded my expectations.