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. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-1-84668-465-4
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-48550-7
Ebook - 354 pages - 978-1-84765-740-4
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-48612-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-84668-464-7
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