Jeremy P. Tarcher, $16.75, 279 pages
The average American child spends almost as much time online as they do sleeping. When author/journalist/mother Susan Maushart saw this happening with her three teens (and herself!), she decided life had to change. So began “The Experiment”, the subject of Maushart’s The Winter of our Disconnect.
Maushart tells the often times LOL (laugh-out-loud) story of a family in technological withdrawal. At first, this computer savvy mom misses her gadgets just as much as her children do. But as the six month experiment progresses, the family starts to (re)discover “real life.” They reflect on how the often feared idea of boredom is actually quiet motivating. “Down time” (that would otherwise be filled with emails and computer gaming) becomes an opportunity for creativity and problem solving.
The Ten Commandments of Digital Living (found at the end of the book) includes “Thou shalt not fear boredom” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s upgrade.” Most importantly, “Thou shalt love REAL LIFE with all thy heart and soul.” Try (dis)connecting with your family for a day, week, or month. Monumental changes are ahead, and you too will live to tell the tale.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin