A Review of
The Year without a Purchase: One Family’s Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting
Reviewed by Leslie Klingensmith
The “Year of…” premise for structuring a book is getting stale. They are everywhere. I suppose they have always been around, but the past few years it seems as if there is a new one every week. The Year of Living Biblically (A.J. Jacobs), The Year of Biblical Womanhood (Rachel Held Evans), and Sabbath in the Suburbs (MaryAnn McKibben Dana) are recent examples of the theological subgenre of this type of book. I read and enjoyed them all. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) takes the same idea and applies it to eating only home grown or home raised food for a year. Susan Maushart’s most entertaining The Winter of Our Disconnect operates within a different time frame (six months), but is the same premise – one family living without electronics so they can relate more genuinely to each other. A quick search on Amazon reveals a number of other titles built around the same idea: Do something (or not) for a year, enlist the support and/or participation of your family, and write about what it was like for you all and how it changed your life in the longer term. All of the books I have listed are enjoyable, thought provoking reads that I have recommended to friends. However, lately I have noticed myself rolling my eyes when I spot another “Year of…” book on display at the local bookstore. We human beings are all too capable of taking a good concept and running it into the ground until it is not retrievable.