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Paperback A Year Without Made in China: One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy Book

ISBN: 0470379200

ISBN13: 9780470379202

A Year Without Made in China: One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy

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Book Overview

A Year Without "Made in China" provides you with a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining account of how the most populous nation on Earth influences almost every aspect of our daily lives. Drawing on her years as an award-winning journalist, author Sara Bongiorni fills this book with engaging stories and anecdotes of her family's attempt to outrun China's reach-by boycotting Chinese made products-and does a remarkable job of taking...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An unforgettable look at where far too much of our stuff comes from...

So do you know where the vast majority of the stuff in your house and life is made? Have you ever given it much thought? Try reading A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni for an entertaining and eye-opening look at just how much we have come to depend on China for everyday life. Besides being a laugh-out-loud read, it will cause you to start looking a bit more carefully at that "Made In" tag... Contents: Introduction; Farewell, My Concubine; Red Shoes; Rise and China; Manufacturing Dissent; A Modest Proposal; Mothers of Invention; Summer of Discontent; Red Tide; China Dreams; Meltdown; The China Season; Road's End; Epilogue; About the Author; Index Sara Bongiorni, the author, decided on January 1, 2005, that her and her family would spend a year without buying anything made in China. This wasn't a radical "WE MUST BUY AMERICAN!" reaction, rather an experiment to see if it was possible to live without feeding the growing economic tiger across the Pacific. Factor in the elements of a husband and two young children, and it becomes a task far beyond what she had imagined. With her journalistic background, she set off on an adventure that taxed her will, her patience, and her sanity. And you, the reader, get to come along for the ride and the laughs. The rules were simple. Nothing could be purchased that had a "Made In China" sticker on it. Gifts received by others could be made in China, but there would be no family purchases that fell in that category. What she and her husband quickly found is that there are vast consumer areas that are nearly all Chinese-dominated. Toys? Nearly all made in China. Lamps? Made in China. Shoes for the kids? China. Electronics? Yup, China. It was possible to find exceptions to these rules, but it usually meant hours (or days) of searching, in addition to spending far more money than they were used to. Birthday candles for cakes? China. Holiday decorations? China. That one special toy that your child just HAS to have at Christmas because Santa will come through? Count on it being made in China. The interplay of emotions and dialogue between her and everyone else had me reading passages to my wife (and both of us laughing). And I could relate to her schemes to get around the boycott by mentioning to her mother-in-law what exactly so-and-so wanted for their birthday, knowing it could come in as a gift but not as a purchase. Desperation makes cowards of us all. While there were a few mistaken buys (as well as a few knowing "mistakes" by "the Weaker Link"), overall the boycott was pretty closely adhered to. Not that there weren't some times when giving in would have been easier on everyone, however... The underlying message in all this is that we've abandoned large areas of industry and commerce to others who will manufacture it for far less money than American and European workers. While we might be able to get the $49 DVD

10 stars....should be in every American library....

WOW what an eye opening book. While the author got the idea of not buying anything from china right at Christmas, my awakening has come while packing to move. When I have discovered even the upscale items I had paid thru the nose for, from LL Bean, Smith and Hawkens, even Lenox items, all had Made in China on them. I also appreciate the authors sense of humor which makes this book an easier read, since it makes you see the problem without becoming a xenophobic type person who also hates the Chinese. In fact she notes its American businesses who have taken American jobs overseas where they can have cheap made goods and higher profits at home that is the real problem. Am so happy the author wrote this book, which I think should be in every library in America not only because it reminds us of how made in China makes up a good 90% of what we have in our homes. It also goes beyond the issues of out souring and loss of American jobs, to the whole comsumerism and materialism that has Americans by the throat. Even the dang plastic they use to make Visa, Mastercard, Discovery and American Express is made in China. Look at the millions of cell phones, iPods, iPhones, video games, and all the high tech items Americans stand in line to be the first to buy. All made in China. And bought by an increasingly obese sit at home and do nothing, consumers. And as she noted the shoes for kids whose feet grow faster than a corn field, and sold at all the major stores that families with kids frequent, all seem to have the made in China label. Same with virtually every toy and most school supplies. She even writes of going out of her way to buy made in Italy shoes for the kids. Makes me wonder where Stride Rite shoes we used to buy that were made here in the states are now made. Even her husband found that when a repair for something in the house needed doing that places like Lowe's, Home Depot etc had the parts needed but also Made in China on the box. Items may be cheaper on the surface but what are the deeper costs? If Americans were willing to pay fifty cents more and they knew the item would result in Made in USA and a job here at home for a fellow American I firmly believe that people would pay up. Am going to give my copy to the local library where more people can be challenged.

An Engaging Read

I actually rushed out to buy this book this weekend after reading an online news story that interviewed this author. The book sounded intriguing. A Year Without "MADE IN CHINA": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni is, as the title says, the story about how the author and her family attempted to avoid products MADE IN CHINA for an entire year and the difficulties and frustrations (and humorous things, too) they encounter along the way . The book was so engaging that I sat down and read the entire thing, cover to cover, in between doing my laundry. As I loaded the wash machine, I found myself looking at the labels of each article of clothing I was throwing in. It never really occurred to me how much of what we buy is actually MADE IN CHINA. It also never occurred to me how difficult it would be to kick China out (especially for folks with kids). I thought I would offer this book up to my husband to read next (and I probably still will), but I suspect that it might not resonate with him simply because, in my opinion, it's a bit too kid-heavy so he might find himself annoyed with that (we're child-free). Reading this book felt like, to me, having a long conversation over coffee with a girlfriend. It's definitely worth a read, especially for those who are in charge of doing most of the shopping for their families. It will definitely make you more mindful about what you're buying and considerate of your own role in the global economy. Mind you this book is NOT about demonizing China, but rather understanding how dependent we are on China for certain things (especially shoes and children's toys) and how indulgent a society we really are. Or at least that's what I took away from it.

Engaging, even-handed account of one consumer's year-long adventure

I found this to be an engaging, well-balanced account of the author's attempt to go a year without purchasing anything "Made in China". Bongiorni carefully avoids assigning ultimate responsibility for China's staggering trade surplus with the US, but the difficulties she faces as the tries to clothe her young kids and maintain her home make it clear that we Americans have become very dependent on inexpensive goods produced in the Middle Kingdom. The book really brings the concept of 'globalization' down to a level we as consumers can all appreciate.

A humorous introduction to intensive label-checking

In the months since Sara Bongiorni's boycott experiment, checking labels has become a matter of life and death as a result of tainted pet food, poisonous toothpaste, defective tires, and soiled salad. We are all learning to pay more attention to the origin of the products we consume and use. It's not easy to be a conscientious consumer, as Sara Bongiorni demonstrates in the long hours spent on the phone with perplexed sales reps, and the gumption it takes to question the goods of shopkeepers. It's a pleasure to get to know these real-life characters as they struggle against the temptations of convenience and colorful plastic, and the surprising social pressures to buy cheap Chinese stuff. Hopefully we can all approach the task with as much humor and (mostly!) grace as Sara's family.
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