"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Give It Up!: My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno

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Summary: A woman gives up one vice or indulgence a month for one year in this memoir.

Mary Carlomagno is literally hit over the head by a box of  her expensive shoes. That's it, she's had enough. She decides to give up one thing she considers indispensable for one month at a time, challenging what she thinks she needs and what she actually needs.

In January, it's alcohol, and she discovers how many of her plans revolve around alcohol and drinking just because others are. She also talks about how uncomfortable it is to be the one person not drinking when everyone else is, and how frequently and quickly the conversation turns bitchy.

Yes, I fully recognize that most of the people who write wacky memoirs do not have kids (A.J. Jacobs may be the exception) so Mary's sacrifices didn't seem that difficult or impractical. Until she helps her boyfriend move in with her during the month when she's not allowed to use any cell phones. She's also able to work out more if she gains weight, or take a freelance job if she needs more money, options not available to a stay-at-home mom.

Her list of indispensable items are somewhat similar to mine (chocolate, coffee, shopping) but others are not. I could give up alcohol and taxis no problem. This was a quick read, and is one of my favorite memoirs. It's thought provoking, light, random and easy to pick up and put down. Read it today.

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