A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

Book - 2014
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The author discusses consumerism with a key focus on her own consumer behaviour and how she found herself spending too much time and money on shopping and therefore decided to stop buying any clothes and accessories for a year.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2014.
ISBN: 9780143124719
Characteristics: 173 p. : ill. (chiefly col.)


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ksoles Jan 31, 2015

“Waste not, want not.” The old adage lies at the centre of Sarah Lazarovic's graphic reflection on consumer culture. Memoir, catalogue and manifesto in one, "A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy" uses lightheartedness to convey a serious message: You are what you buy.

Lazarovic writes that, growing up in Florida, she experienced exposure to “so much pretty, shiny stuff” that the feeling of “want” permeated her childhood even though she never lacked. As a teenager, she shopped impulsively for clothes and once spent her entire allowance on flowered boxers from The Gap. She paints this phase as a gruesome addiction, which continued until 2006 when she realized she purchased “far too much crap” on the Internet and decided to kick her shopping habit by not buying any clothes for a year.

Lazarovic paints each item of clothing she resists, forming a compendium of coveted goods. She does not suggest an epiphany but, in an ode to Michael Pollen and the slow food movement, coins the mantra: “Buy clothes. Not too many. Mostly quality.” Always juxtaposing self-deprecating descriptions with sobering, universal statements, the book points to overabundance, not scarcity as the problem with our current economy. In a society where advertising and packed store shelves abound, each consumer has to choose how to interact with the overkill.

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