Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Year with 4 purchases...unless you count _____

Sorry I have been MIA for a few days...

I worked this weekend...and spent a few days being distracted by family happenings, so haven't got a post up in longer than I'd like.  But I finally finished reading The Year Without a Purchase, which was sent to me by Netgalley for review.  This book definitely contained a few gems, but there were also some bits that just didn't do it for me.
The Year Without a Purchase: One Family's Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting by Scott Dannemiller is a memoir detailing how one family tried to consume less and give more. Scott and his wife Gabby were missionaries when younger, but now are living the typical suburban life with 2 young children, and a garage "one tool" away from not fitting their car.  They are both bothered by their consumer lifestyle, and the excess surrounding them. In going back to the mission statement they had written years earlier, they decide that they need a jolt to get their values back in check. In comes the idea to not purchase anything for a year.

I feel I must confess that I am a sucker for books like this...it fulfills my minimalist fascination and my love of somewhat gimmicky "year" type memoirs. From Marie Kondo to A.J. Jacobs (which even the hubby likes), Jen Hatmaker to Courtney Carver...I can't seem to stay away from these two genres...and a combination of the two?!  I am all over that shit. But this particular one wasn't my favorite.

My complaints are going to sound nitpicky, but they combined to make me just "like" the book...not rave over it.  If I could give it 3 1/2 stars on Goodreads I would have.  The scripture at the beginning of the chapters didn't seem to relate to the content a whole lot.  I kept expecting it to tie in somehow, and it never really did.  The book also felt long, which is never a good sign.  I was shocked when I saw that it was only 200 pages.  And although the author was funny, and tried to inject his humor into the stories, it just kind-of fell flat.  I also couldn't really get behind a Taco Bell gift card given for a child's birthday being "ok" because it was a consumable.  I know that in all minimalist projects you need to have guidelines, because no one wants to go back to wiping their ass with a leaf...but their guidelines were a little too loose for my tastes.  (*says the woman who has shoe boxes full of makeup in her bathroom closet)

There were two big ideas that really jumped off the page at me, that I would love to use in real life though.  For Scott's birthday, Gabby asked family and friends for one song that reminded them of him and a few lines as to why they picked it...and then made him CD's with the songs, and their stories for the liner notes.  I would LOVE a gift like this!!!  So simple, but for someone who really loves music it would be something they'd cherish forever.  And then for Christmas, as a way of focusing on giving, they take random dollar amounts and put them in generic thank you cards...and hand them out to random people (they focused on folks working still).  Something about this really touched my heart, and seems like a great idea especially for families with young children. 

This is a very Christian take on a subject that I enjoy, so if Bible verses at the beginning of each chapter will be bothersome to you, there are plenty of other books in the metaphorical sea that might be more up your alley.  The biblical references are throughout...this is a family trying to be better Christians.

So...was it the worst book of this type that I've ever read?  Absolutely not.  Was it my favorite?  Nope.  If you are bothered by our current culture of consumerism, and enjoy reading about other people who feel the same way, I would say add this to your pile.  But maybe don't read this one first. 

Do you enjoy books like this?  Do you have a favorite you think I should read?  If so, post in the comments or give me a holler over on my Facebook page, Tomes and Tequila Blog

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