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The Winter of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled the Plug and Lived to Tell/Text/Tweet the Tale Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846684641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846684647
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Her cautionary tale of media addiction is entertaining (Claire Sawers The List 2011-01-06)

Hilariously entertaining but sobering and informative read... Thoreau would no doubt have approved (Karlin Lillington Irish Times 2011-01-15)

A frank, funny and incredibly inspiring memoir (it will have you dusting off your board games) we share in her many, many successes (Louise Cook Sunday Express 2011-01-23)

Light-hearted and breezy. (Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post 2011-01-23)

A memoirs-cum-call-to-arms... a strong, passionate voice (Danuta Kean Mslexia 2011-02-01)

Read this true story for inspiration. Read it for laughs. Maybe even read it on your ipad. (O Magazine 2011-01-01)

This book makes you sit up and seriously think. (Junior 2011-03-01)

Brilliantly entertaining (Janey Lee Grace Natural Health and Beauty 2011-04-01)

A fab book by a witty, single-parent mum... a great story (Rosita Sweetman Sunday Independent 2011-04-17)

Book Description

The self help book EVERY family must have. By ditching all means of electronic devices, one ordinary family learns new (or old) ways of communicating across the generation divide and begin to understand what being a family is all about.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Magnolia Tree on 21 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
... or is that just guilt talking, as I would never be brave enough do what the author did :-)

On the plus side, very interesting subject for debate, one that most parents will have experience of and very likely be concerned about. Shrewd idea for a zeitgeisty book.

On the minus side, while the author was at pains to point out the various pitfalls of her decision, I did find the authorial voice a bit smug and preachy and I baulked at the rather airy underlying assumptions about what constitutes a "good" family life and "healthy" social interractions. I also felt that the overall attitude towards societal evolution was a little blinkered and old-fashioned. At the end of the proverbial, hankering after an Enid Blyton world where teenagers amused themselves scrumping apples and cycling to the corner shop for ginger ale is not going to make it happen! As a teenager, my parents' approach to what they saw as the subversive effects of technology was to forbid any TV after 8 pm and limit phone calls to 5 minutes maximum (there was an egg timer - yes, really)... draconian in those days, compared to my friends' parents.... but that didn't stop me growing up to happily make full use of a mobile phone, a computer, a blackberry, a subscription to Sky and wireless internet access. Similarly, my own efforts to limit my kids' use of social networking and screen time won't stop them from running their lives in future using as-yet-unimagined gadgets that I'll no doubt be alarmed by.... it's just the way of things... I can't help strongly doubting that the 6-month experiment laid out in the book will have any lasting impact on the author's offspring. Which begs the question for me, why did she do it? I'm not entirely sure, but at least she got a media-friendly book out it, and why the heck not.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Abi F on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
As a former technophobe and now fully-fledged member of the digital generation, I'm always keen to hear experiences of living without computers, mobile phones, and all the other bits of wizardry we take for granted nowadays. I guess I wanted to try it out through someone else, see what it's like to go back to basics without actually having to sacrifice anything myself.

Unsurprisingly, Maushart finds that it is perfectly possible to live without her mobile and laptop. Annoying, sure, but perfectly possible. And while I felt a sort of "duh" moment whenever she or her kids realised life was indeed manageable technology-free, I was quickly put back in my place when I realised that I am frequently guilty of WILFing - that's "What Was I Looking For", or what happens when you lose track of what you were supposed to be Googling and end up procrastinating on the Internet for rather longer than you meant.

The most interesting thing to me was Maushart's research into multitaskers, namely those who think they can still work whilst simultaneously watching TV, having a conversation on Skype and reading three different webpages. What legions of parents have been telling kids for years is sadly scientifically true: you can't do your homework and watch TV at the same time.

The only minor niggle I have with the book is Maushart's use of LOL, ROLF and similar. It starts out fairly funny, as a sort of ironic response to her children's initial failure to embrace the experiment, but after a while it just grates. Apart from that, it's a great book, with some fascinating commentary on the way we use technology now. And it reminded me that notepads make a great handheld game; I'll remember that - if I'm ever stuck without my smartphone...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nige on 13 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I expected so much from this book and, perhaps, that's why it rates so poorly.. too much expectation?
The promise of some kind of answer to just one of most modern parents' worries.. Just how is all this technology affecting my child? The only way to describe why I felt so let down by it is to mention the end. So if you don't fancy the spoiler then do not read on!
Maushart is an academic. A feminist and a single mother. She lives in a house in Perth and has 3 adolescent children. They are all (not just the kids) addicted to their media so she decides to pull the plug and see how it impacts on their lives...
You can see how this might appeal but despite the good humour and intelligent one liners the elephant in the room that is this book starts to trumpet away after the first chapter...
There are several moments where I raised an eyebrow but I wanted to know what lessons on life were to be learned from this forced regression so I read on. The answer it seems is the square route of nothing.
For all the author's mid-book comments on discovering things about themselves they had all forgotten or pehaps didn't even know, the book ends with them all going media mental the millisecond the `experiment' is over.
So the final words suggest that despite the last six months they all just carried as they had been.
To quote Maushart, "WTF!"
For me the thing which begins to trumpet out as the book goes on is Maushart's awful approach to being a parent. Sure she is up against it, 3 kids, 1 parent and all that. But come on; "I have never taken an interest in my kid's homework." "Stats show parents that help their children do their homework have a negative impact on their results.
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