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Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping    by Judith Levine order for
Not Buying It
by Judith Levine
Order:  USA  Can
Free Press, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

For many people, a year without shopping is unthinkable. In Not Buying It, Levine explores, in diary format, the notion of excessive consumerism and its psychological effects by removing herself from commerce for one year.

Levine and her partner, Paul, felt overwhelmed by consumerism and materialism, their own included, so they decided to embark upon a year-long experiment: to cut out all spending except for necessities. The primary question she posed to herself was, 'In a year without shopping, will I lose my self, and in so doing, my connection to others?'

The question constantly arose: what is necessary? Haircuts? Q tips? Special woolen ski socks? Do we really need three cars to accommodate our lifestyle (they spend half the year in Vermont the other half in Brooklyn)? What do we give our niece for her graduation
if we cannot purchase anything? Do we allow friends to pick up the tab in restaurants, or forsake eating out altogether? 

During the course of that year, Levine performs an inventory of her material items and at the same time, an inventory of the self. Among her many other conclusions, she decides that one just does not need nine kinds of rice and three kinds of salt.

Though I would have preferred more personal experiences documenting her daily struggles with not buying it and less political and economic commentary, I found the book insightful, witty, and well-researched.

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