Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Year Unplugged: A Family's Life Without Technology


Rating: 1 Star


I received this as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of the worst books I have ever read. The premise is so intriguing, and the idea of 'unplugging' is so wonderful in this day where we seem to have to rely on technology for so many things. But the writing was terrible, some of the stories included were completely pointless and irrelevant (FILLER!!), and this was way too long and repetitive.

Here was my initial review on Goodreads:

This book is awful. Review to come shortly. I can't decide where to start: with the author and her five year old's conversation about hair on Mommy's vagina, or the author's descriptive imagery of her taking a pregnancy test. Seriously. This book is awful.

Now that I have had a day away, the book is still awful. Here we go...

First, the book was super dated with all the Hannah Montana references ALL THE TIME. The family did this little experiment in 2009, but the book did not come out until 2015. Perhaps they could not find a publisher willing to put out this crap until they begged and pleaded? I have no idea. And in addition, why was their five year old allowed to watch so much TV to begin with? It just didn't make sense to me that such a young child would be so obsessed with a show that is not even their age demographic - even pre-Crazy Miley.

From the get-go it was hard to tell if this chick even likes being a parent - something she herself has to explicitly state that she does, seeing as how even she had to recognize how much she bitched and moaned about the difficulties of keeping a child entertained all the time when all she wants is her morning tea. It was seriously ridiculously. 

As I said, the premise itself was interesting, but the author was not the person to write it. I have not read a more obnoxious, pretentious book in a really long time. I stopped counting how many times she mentioned that her family lived in Silicon Valley. We get it, you live in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley. She strikes me as the type of woman you would see on one of the Real Housewives shows, it was that absurd. Really driving home the point, she included a pointless (to the story of being 'unplugged') anecdote about how a homeless man rejected her offer of clothing in the summer. She gets all pouty because he didn't want to carry the additional clothing, and what was the point? To make herself look all heroic and caring, only to be spurned by a this ungrateful homeless man who should have been glad to take whatever scraps she tossed him? Blech. Don't forget the part where she finally says she has had so much wine and chocolate, she has to hire a personal trainer to lose the weight. And then the family gets a Prius. BlahBlahBlah. Oh, plus the Human Society (OF SILICON VALLEY) built such a nice facility it was really like a hotel for dogs. Can't forget to mention that.

Speaking of Silicon Valley, counting the references to Apple would be another fun game you could play which would be more entertaining than reading this book. I am fairly certain that Apple sponsored this book, due to the insane amount of times she mentioned her iPod, iTunes, Mac, iPad...again absurd and so pretentious. Maybe I should say 'pretentious' in this review as many times as she mentioned they live in Silicon Valley and exclusively use Apple products.

Into the story itself though, I truly do not understand being SO dependent on technology. Yes, I am typing this on my computer, but you have to use some technology. I own a Kindle, but always prefer an actual book in my hand and truthfully kind of regret even bothering with the Kindle in the first place. I'm not big on TV, though we do watch Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger and Super Why! - all educational things. Never in a million years would I let Eleanor watch Hannah Montana at FIVE. Eleanor has a toy laptop that again is all educational - music, letters, numbers, etc. I am in no way worried about Eleanor not having computer skills. Those will come in time. Most things can be okay in moderation and technology is one of them. They got rid of cameras, laptops, phones, etc for personal use, and missed out recording big moments, like their daughter's Kindergarten graduation. That is excessive. Yes, be in the moment, but also capture the memories for later in life. And why was the family so dependent on using their email? Everyone was so pissed that she was not emailing them family updates. Who even uses email that much?? I send my mom pictures of Eleanor, but I am not giving these long family updates. I use the phone and actually TALK to people. I don't even. Ugh. So stupid. And the thing with her going on and on bout how much time it takes to deal with all the digital pictures she takes, because of the snapping photos, editing them, uploading them, etc.

As a side note, the author kept saying 'on email'. "Oh, I'm not on email". YOU CAN'T BE ON EMAIL. IT IS A SERVICE YOU USE. This was one of the most irritating things. You can be 'on Facebook', it is a specific site. But all the time 'on email' this 'on email' that. Another testament to the poor writing.

Anyway, so once they get rid of their technology, this mom has to figure out how to actually entertain her child. They buy a bunch of new toys and art supplies at Toys R Us (I think) and make sure to tell us they spent $300. She talks about doing some activities, but there's not much mention at least early on about museums, zoos, the library, etc. So many things to do, but none of those cross her mind? Oh well, at least they can finally start bonding now that all the technology is out of the house. 

Also, not having any technology makes you forget to take your birth control pills for six days, just an FYI. Then you get to tell everyone how you are so worried about being pregnant and feeling selfish for not wanting another child blah blah.

All in all, gosh, I wish I could be a stay at home mom who does nothing but drink wine, eat chocolate, and edit my zillions of digital photos all day while ignoring my child and letting the TV entertain her. It is such a tough life in Silicon Valley.

Seriously awful, do not bother.

P.S. I am almost embarrassed for this chick with how obsessed she is with American Idol and publicly announcing it. Even in 2009.

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