Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart

Book: The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart
Genre: NF
Rating: A
For: Review request and personal NF challenge
From: ARC sent for review

Here's the subtitle for this book: How Three Totally Wired Teenager (and a Mother who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale.

That's all it took for me. I wanted to know HOW they survived THAT! :) She took it all away from them, their phone, iPods, TVs, computers, video games, for SIX months!

And not surprisingly, they DID survive and learned quite a bit from the experience.

Being a journalist, much of her motivation for The Experiment was to have a fun thing to write about, but she was also concerned about their mutual dependence on all their devices. Sound familiar to anyone? I know at our house, we pretty much live for our computer time. And music of course. And we enjoy lots of TV and movies too. I'm sure it's quite obvious from the posts I write here. And I'm not sure we could disconnect and live to tell the tale!

Anyway, scattered in between their personal experience with this (in the form of diary entries of sorts) she analyzes our psyches and what makes us love our electronics so much, and how things have changed over the years. She talks about technology and our devices as it relates to:

  • homework
  • feeling connected with other people
  • our desire for information
  • connection to real life friends
  • developing other interests (or not as the case may be)
  • the way our brains have changed over the years
  • multi-tasking and is that good or bad
  • our dependency and attachment
  • our fear of boredom
It's all a blast and really very funny! She has a wonderful writing style that I totally loved and enjoyed. There's lots of pop cultural references scattered throughout that was fun to catch and laugh at. Very fun!

Some of the positive things that happened due to the experiment:
  • they talked more
  • they read more
  • they cooked more
  • they gathered in the kitchen, and around the piano and together in  bed
  • they developed other talents
  • their grades improved
I was talking about how fun this book was and my 11 year old daughter was so intrigued, she has nabbed the book from me plans to read it for her "informational" book requirement! I let you know how that goes! (I'm afraid it's a little over her head, but who am I to say?)

Bottom line: I loved it!


  1. I have this one waiting for me on my kindle, which seems sort of wrong given the whole premise of this book!

  2. Oh I think I need to suggest this to my bookclub!

  3. The title is so funny then there's that hopelessly muddy subtitle.

    The part of your review that I liked best was that your 11 year old is going to read it for her informational book report.

    That is ironic that this book is available in a Kindle version.

  4. This sounds very interesting, and I do think there are huge benefits to be gained. However, does she address homework issues (you know, papers need to be typed, research, etc), bill paying (I do our finances online), etc.

    I, for one, would actually like to see our tv(s) gone, but husband would not allow that one as he is a total addict.



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