Friday, May 9, 2008
The Book Club reads "Affluenza"
It was my turn to choose a book, so I chose "Affluenza". The Book Group usually reads novels, so I was a bit unsure about how they would take to it.
One of our group was very unhappy as she felt the book was somehow offensive to her lifestyle. "I have a big house, so shoot me!" she said. The chapter on how much Australians spend on pets upset her too, as she has a dog which has cost a great deal of money recently.
In the hurly burly of the book club I did not know how to respond to her. I could tell she was angry buy a discussion about her personal choices and how to evaluate them was beyond me.
Another couple have recently planned an overseas holiday, and seemed to feel as though they needed to justify that.
Several others, however, were really excited about the insights into how advertisers manipulate us into buying things we don't need. One person declared "I am an impulsive shopper!" and recognised that she often buys craft items in excess of what she can use. This woman has a daughter who lives in the country, grows vegetables and scrimps on electricity use. I think the book helped the mother understand her daughter more, and she promised to pass the book on to her. I hope that the book brings them together more into a more simple lifestyle.
One of the things I tried to explain was, even if people are not worried about climate change and its links to our excessive lifestyle, that being aware of the pressures to spend, spend, spend can help them use their hard earned money better.
All in all I feel it was worth the risk of making the choice to read this book with my book group. I took a risk of seeming to be pushing a barrow, but I think we had a good discussion.