The Winter of Our Disconnect, by Susan Maushart

The Winter of Our Disconnect, by Susan Maushart

Read this review at Publishers Weekly

The Winter of Our Disconnect

The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale Susan Maushart, Penguin, $16.95 trade paper (329p) ISBN 978-1-58542-855-7

Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) embarked with her three teenagers on a six-month screen blackout (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television) to discover if the technology intended to stimulate and keep us virtually more connected was, as she suspected, making us actually more disconnected and distracted. Ironically, Maushart may have gone screen-dark, but her writing remains riddled with “textspeak”–“LOLs,” “WTFs,” emoticons–and exhausting chipperness and self-conscious “hipness,” which all distract from an otherwise intelligent and eloquent core text. Funny and poignant precisely when it is not trying to be, this book vacillates between diary entries (written longhand) and deeply researched reportage, which brings needed balance to the subject of new media, often touted as either the answer to all of our problems or the accelerant of societal doom. What Maushart’s experiment uncovers is a commonsense conclusion: in a world of proliferating demands on our attention, exercising the on/off switch is the ultimate practice in understanding connection.

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