More or Less: Essays from a Year of No Buying (Paperback)
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WINNER OF THE EASTOVER PRESS PRIZE FOR NONFICTION
The essays in More or Less explore the degree to which we are defined, and confined, by what we own.
In 2017, novelist Ann Patchett wrote in the NYT about planning "a year buying nothing" other than what she would consume-and Susannah Q. Pratt took the hint. In 2018, after some convincing (that included a family PowerPoint ) Pratt and her family decided to buy nothing, too: "We undertook a 365-day moratorium on the purchase of new clothes, toys, games, books, electronics, gear, furniture, housewares, and other things that fall in the general category of 'stuff.' For twelve months we purchased only essentials - food, toiletries, light bulbs, and a few pairs of shoes for my growing boys. We stayed out of stores and off of online shopping sites. We fixed things. We made things. We went without."
The twenty-one essays in More or Less are much more than the story of that year. Pratt thoughtfully considers what might bring someone to step outside the usual American consumerism, coming to examine the ways in which what we buy and own can change who we are or want to be. Intertwining scenes of homelife with sustained reflection on notions of utility, disposability, and community, the book addresses the central question of how to live well in a culture of consumerism from which there is no meaningful exit.