Saturday, 1 September 2012

Book Review: A Year Without "MADE IN CHINA:" One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy



Genre: Biographies & Memoirs   
Author: Sara Bongiorni   
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars  

"We kick China out of the house on a dark Monday, two days after Christmas, while the children are asleep upstairs. I don't mean the country, of course, but the pieces of plastic, cotton, and metal stamped with the words Made in China. We keep the bits of China we already have but we stop bringing in any more.

The eviction is no fault if China's. It has coated our lives with a cheerful veneer of cheap toys, gadgets, and shoes. Sometimes I worry about lost American jobs or nasty reports of human rights abuses but price has trumped virtue at out house. We couldn't resist what China was selling. But on this dark afternoon, a creeping unease washes over me as I sit on the sofa and survey the gloomy wreckage of the holiday, It seems impossible to have missed it before, yet it isn't until now that I notice an irrefutable fact. China has taken over the place."

So begins Sara Bongiorni' and her "One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy."

I think that many of us have watched with great unease the insidious take over of our economy by Made in China and more than a few of us have envisioned embarking on a private boycott of all things Chinese. A boycott China and of Walmart has basses through my noggin on more than one occasion and I find myself never buying anything without first checking its country or origin and, as poor as I am, I am often willing to pay more for an object just to get rid of that objectionable label even if it is only to move the Made in label from China to India or Pakistan. My plans for a personal boycott collapses early this winter when I went looking for new, deep cold, winter boots with a Canadian label and couldn't find them.

This is book is not a rant against the Chinese take over of our consumer goods market but a hilarious account of one family's attempt to live without it. Can it be done? Read the book and find out. It may be harder than you imagine.

This is a delightful book and I found myself laughing out loud with this easy one evening read.

Amazon says:

"Journalist Bongiorni, on a post-Christmas day mired deep in plastic toys and electronics equipment, makes up her mind to live for a year without buying any products made in China, a decision spurred less by notions of idealism or fair trade-though she does note troubling statistics on job loss and trade deficits-than simply "to see if it can be done." In this more personal vein, Bongiorni tells often funny, occasionally humiliating stories centering around her difficulty procuring sneakers, sunglasses, DVD players and toys for two young children and a skeptical husband. With little insight into global economics or China's manufacturing practices, readers may question the point of singling out China when cheap, sweatshop-produced products from other countries are fair game (though Bongiorni cheerfully admits the flaws in her project, she doesn't consider fixing them). Still, Bongiorni is a graceful, self-deprecating writer, and her comic adventures in self-imposed inconvenience cast an interesting sideways glance at the personal effects of globalism, even if it doesn't easily connect to the bigger picture."

And:

"Journalist Bongiorni, on a post-Christmas day mired deep in plastic toys and electronics equipment, makes up her mind to live for a year without buying any products made in China, a decision spurred less by notions of idealism or fair trade—though she does note troubling statistics on job loss and trade deficits—than simply "to see if it can be done." In this more personal vein, Bongiorni tells often funny, occasionally humiliating stories centering around her difficulty procuring sneakers, sunglasses, DVD players and toys for two young children and a skeptical husband. With little insight into global economics or China's manufacturing practices, readers may question the point of singling out China when cheap, sweatshop-produced products from other countries are fair game (though Bongiorni cheerfully admits the flaws in her project, she doesn't consider fixing them). Still, Bongiorni is a graceful, self-deprecating writer, and her comic adventures in self-imposed inconvenience cast an interesting sideways glance at the personal effects of globalism, even if it doesn't easily connect to the bigger picture."

(Originally posted to Multiply January 11, 2009)


No comments:

Post a Comment