Book Review – The Winter of our Disconnect by Susan Maushart

6 Aug

After being told amazing things from my friend over at http://www.elementsilove.com and http://www.aggystravels.wordpress.com about this book I thought OK I have to look this up. So, I immediately had a distinct impression of what this book would be like and my impression was correct…

The Winter of our Disconnect follows a single mother with three teenage kids, Anni (18), Bill (15) and Sussy (14). It covers the decision by mother Maushart (pronounced Mouse-heart) to go on a ‘digital detox’ as it refers to throughout the book. So they pull the plug on all Phones, Laptops, TVs, iPods etc. and go six months without it. Though I do feel I must add, the title is rather deceiving, because they live in Australia but they start at Christmastime so therefore it wouldn’t be winter there…


My initial thought was that this would be the most preachy, arrogant, self righteous book out there and yes, I was right. Maushart starts the book going to endless details to describe how bad the world is with technology. Then she decides to single out how much teenagers use technology which is something that really bugs me about the book is that she keep singling out teenagers to be the worst ones when it comes to using technology.

She describes how through these months, her kids learn to cook more, and they make eye contact more, and the read together and they eat more as family. What really annoys me about this is the fact that she blames technology for them not eating as a family, well don’t blame technology for that! Technology isn’t the cause for that, if you really wanted to eat as a family, you would know to put the screens down for a while.

Maushart then goes on to tell us about the beautiful things that her kids do and tells us that kids want to come over to her house and ‘play scrabble’ or ‘sing around the piano’.

So what annoys me the most about the book is that she goes on about how much they’ve learnt throughout the experience but when it was the last day they counted to midnight and then ‘just went wild’ with the devices, giving the impression that everything goes back to how it was.

She says that Anni now separates her work life from home, going to her university to type assignments, Bill sold his quad-core gaming processor and now plays a musical instrument and Sussy reads before beds. These are all things they could’ve done without this pretentious ‘digital detox’.

Do not waste your time with this 200 word column that has been milked into a book!

Score: 2/5

12 Responses to “Book Review – The Winter of our Disconnect by Susan Maushart”

  1. sonia August 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    I totally agree with you.The book (actually it seems more suited to a column in the daily mail uk) is best left on the shelf to gather dust.

    • aculturedlad August 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Glad to see that someone agrees with me 🙂 So glad that I didn’t pay money for it and borrowed it off a friend!

  2. scrounger1984 August 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    She probably had a good reason for doing what she did, but blaming it all on technology is unfair. The fault is in her, as a parent, and in the kids as well. If the bond between them as a family could be so easily superseded by a couple of gadgets, then it’s her fault as the mother , for that bond to be so thin.

    • aculturedlad August 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      Exactly my point. That’s what annoys me the most about the book, is that they weren’t close as a family due to her iPhone? No. I think that maybe we should consider how much we use our gadgets but I think for them, if it’s coming between them as a family they had to take drastic action.

      • scrounger1984 August 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

        Planning a 6-month detox as drastic action is reasonable, because from the way she talks about it, they really needed it. But making technology the scapegoat is unfair.

      • aculturedlad August 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

        Totally agree!

  3. brooke August 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    a very biased review! you didn’t mention that she herself was totally addicted to her iphone and she is no teenager….

    • aculturedlad August 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      Well she mentions it about once and for the rest of the time singles out teenagers. The whole book is a load of nonsense and like other people have commented, belongs in a newspaper column.

    • sonia August 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

      Perhaps I missed something during my years at Trinity in Dublin. I don’t think it is biased at all. This is not really a “book” in the true literary sense. It is more of a cobbled together series of articles best suited to tabloid or lifestyle press (the 2 are the same). It is good to see real works being recognised in blogs (like the cuktured lad did in review of one day). I suspect (gleaning from your comment) your are probably prefer the lighter works. Suggest you read “who stole my blckberry by martin lukes” (the funny thing is it is written by a cambridge educated women – get it?) I leave it there!

      • aculturedlad August 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

        Thank you! I was worried when I was writing this post that some would take it as bias but at least someone doesn’t! I think that too, it’s not really a book is it? It’s a 200 word column that’s been stretched to fit an audience. I’m glad you said the thing about the whole tabloid and lifestyle thing. The lifestyle genre is being used too liberally now and in the wrong cases.

        Once again, thanks for your comment! Your contribution is always welcome. Consider subscribing!

    • gerald rosso August 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      I am living in Russia and frankly need my technology while completing my schooling here BUT this woman reminds me of those parents (like my father) who always took dinner in the study or in front of TV or in bed. You can still have all the technology, you just need to know when to turn it off. Sometimes, a good book or quality newspaper editorial can do wonders for dinner conversation.

      • aculturedlad August 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

        This is so true! Technology is a tool that we can use to aid parts of our laugh, work, play etc. I’ve found it useful with this blog because otherwise I wouldn’t have any other outlet! It’s about knowing when to stop. Clearly, Maushart’s family didn’t but technology isn’t the reason why, it was the attitude they had towards it. An attitude that none of us should have.

        Thanks for your comments! Stick around, consider subscribing!

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