Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Winter of Our Disconnect - Maushart

After years of blank stares and grunted responses, Susan Maushart decided the time had come for a change, for The Winter of Our Disconnect. She imposed a six-month black-out period on her family on all screen electronics (TVs, iPads/iPods, computers, etc) called it "The Experiment", during which  no usage of those items was acceptable in the home though using them outside the home was fine: at school, work, a coffee shop, or a friend's house.

Despite her expectations of her childrens' response (anger, rebellion and quite possibly moving out) very little came to pass. The children adapted somewhat quickly and, not surprisingly, their  schoolwork improved, communication improved, social and physical activity increased, and moods improved (adequate sleep tends to make one less moody).  Ultimately, The Experiment brought the family closer and changed their lives in varied ways.

Funny and poignant, this book is written in a very accessible and readable manner. But do not be caught by surprise: the book is more non-fiction than memoir. Maushart is, admittedly, a research junkie. There is a lot of research here, about...well just about everything: media, Facebook, culture, aging, research (yes, research about research)... It goes on and on and on.

What I considered the juiciest parts of the story - the family stories and experiences - tended to be an after thought, even being relegated to the last few pages of each chapter. I was disappointed, as I wanted more memoir, to hear more about how her children reacted, how it changed their lives from day to day, how she personally was affected and survived.

Eventually, I got to the point where I had one day left before library return and, frankly, I no longer cared about the research. I had two chapters to finish. I chose to skip the second to last chapter (56 pages on my iPad, thank you) and read the final chapter which was sort of a conclusion, more family focused (though some research data snuck its way in there too).

Overall, an ok read.

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.



Jeremy Bates said...

Sounds good, but like you I'd want to hear more about the raging, cursing and the people running to Internet cafes to get their fix on. lol

Shannon... said...