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The Winter of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled the Plug and Lived to Tell/Text/Tweet the Tale [Paperback]

Susan Maushart
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

5 Jan 2012
If Thoreau could last two years in the woods without the mod-cons of the early nineteenth century (running water), then surely Susan Maushart can survive six months without the technology of the twenty-first century? But then, Thoreau didn't have teenagers ... or an iPhone ... or Facebook ...For any parent who has ever yanked the modem from its socket in a show of primal parental rage - this account of one family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you ROFLing (Roll on the Floor Laughing) with recognition. But it will also challenge you to take stock of your own family connections and bring you to ask yourself pertinent questions about your own usage. Such as: Should a fifty-year old woman have a pet name for her laptop? Or take her iPod to bed with her?* A thoroughly honest and hilarious read.*As asked by Susan Maushart

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668465X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846684654
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'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) 'Hilariously entertaining but sobering and informative read... Thoreau would no doubt have approved' (Karlin Lillington, Irish Times) 'A memoirs-cum-call-to-arms... a strong, passionate voice' (Danuta Kean, Mslexia)"

Book Description

The self help book EVERY family must have, for any parent who has ever texted their child to the dinner table.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit too preachy for me.... 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
4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Wake-Up Call 30 Jan 2011
By Abi F
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be called, ''the road to nowhere..." 13 Mar 2012
By Nige
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Using this to reflect on my own habits
This book was recommended to me after I had a discussion at a communication training, where we started talking about the influence of technology on (the quality of) life. Read more
Published 10 months ago by RV
5.0 out of 5 stars How families and technology do not mix
An excellent book about getting the mix of technology and family life right, with pointers as to the best way of achieving it
Published 23 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
1.0 out of 5 stars Did Not Connect Me
Sorry - this one just did not do it for me. It fell somewhere between an academic treatise and a frothy girly novel and sank without trace. Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2012 by clonmellon12
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
A great book! Inspired me to drastically reduce my internet usage, and I'm intrigued to learn how Susan's ending turned out! Got kids? Read this book.
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by TomChurch
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and irritating
I heard some of this book being read on Radio 4 and then read the whole thing for myself as part of a book group. Read more
Published on 5 May 2011 by E-B Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny, and Thought-Provoking
I thought it was hilarious, and I'm off to read the author's other books!!

I also heard the tasters on Radio Four, and the deeply researched non-fiction side of the book... Read more
Published on 8 Mar 2011 by Arachne202
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter of Our Disconnect book review
An excellent book that will open your eyes to the possibilities of a better more communicative family life. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2011 by Mr. PE Scrivens
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the week
I heard this read on Radio 4's book of the week. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading and bought the book as a present. The person I bought it for said it is brilliant.
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by B. Rosengarten
5.0 out of 5 stars The Winter of our Disconnect
What a great book. It is written beautifully with wit and intelligence. A fascinating insight into life without technology. Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Mr. Jr Callaghan
4.0 out of 5 stars Make's you think again about modern life
OK - I can see why the previous reviewer considers it a bit preachy, but the author struck a real cord with me. Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2011 by A Commuter Reader
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