Shocked by the commerce in everything from pet cloning to patriotism, frightened by the downward spiral of her finances and that of the trash-strewn earth, Judith Levine enlists her partner, Paul, in a radical experiment: to forgo all but the most necessary purchases for an entire year.
Without consumer goods and experiences, Judith and Paul pursue their careers, nurture relationships, and try to keep their sanity, their identities, and their sense of humor intact. Tracking their progress -- and inevitable lapses -- Levine contemplates need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the Big Questions: Can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips necessary?
Not Buying It is the confession of a woman any reader can identify with: someone who can't live without French roast coffee or SmartWool socks but who has had it up to here with overconsumption and its effects on the earth and everyone who dwells there.
For the humor and intelligence of its insights, the refreshment of its skepticism, and the surprises of its conclusions, Not Buying It is sure to be on anyone's list of Necessities.
Judith Levine's work explores the ways history, culture, and politics express themselves in intimate life. She is the writer of scores of articles for national magazines and four books, including Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Levine lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Hardwick, Vermont, where she writes the column "Poli Psy," on the public uses of emotion, for the weekly Seven Days.
"Sharp and witty.... honest and humorous.... By thinking harder about how it would feel to consume less, we might just make ourselves -- and out planet -- a lot better." -- The Christian Science Monitor
"One of the five best books on consumer culture." -- Paco Underhill, The Wall Street Journal
"I love this book." -- Barbara Ehrenreich
"An Important Book." -- Bill McKibben
"Well worth its price!" -- Editor's Choice, Entertainment Weekly