The Winter Of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart [spoiler-free review]


When a mother of three teenagers decides to pull the plug on their connectivity for 6 months, it sends an eruption of change throughout their family life. No IPhones, no laptops, no TV, no PlayStation. But as the time wears on, the mother starts to see the positive of what the change has brought them. Written by journalist and author Susan Maushart, this a true story and almost a day-by-day following of the time.

The premise of The Winter of Our Disconnect (Or The Winter of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled the Plug and Lived to Tell/Text/Tweet the Tale if you want to be specific) is vastly different to my usual book choices. For one, it isn't fiction and not an autobiography. I'm not great at branching out of my comfort zone with books but I am good at picking something up and making myself get into it. I guess I'm not a book snob. I stumbled across this novel by complete accident, as I was searching high and low for a book with a season in the title for the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge and this fit the bill. But I'm so glad I decided to pick it up.

I'll admit that I am on my phone a lot, but mainly due to my partner and friends living far away from me. It's the only way I can connect to them, which somewhat prohibits me from locking my phone in a drawer and deciding to be in the real world for 24 hours. But I am old fashioned in a multitude of ways. Despite my utter hatred for phone calls, I do prefer calling my better half or family when I'm away from them. I hate when people scroll aimlessly as I'm trying to talk to them. I'm a firm believer that you can overshare on social media and have lost some respect for certain Facebook friends after seeing what they're willing to share on their profile (No one wants to know if you had a "wild" night, especially when you're friends with your children on Facebook.). I don't really touch my phone when I'm away from home and I know my mother is in bed, and I barely pick it up at home until my partner is awake. So I guess you can say I'm a forced phoneaholic. I'll even admit to owning a Nokia until 2 years ago, and still hating the fact that my Samsung phone doesn't have buttons.

But alas, upon reading this book, it never really dawned on me how much we take connectivity for granted. How many times are you in the middle of a conversation and wonder mildly about something, and the other instantly reaches for their phone to Google the answer? Or one of you says something funny so the conversation comes to a standstill so it can be tweeted? It's kinda sad.

Not only is this book a good one to make your mind wheels turn, but it's also written about a really great family who's dynamic is as cray-cray as it is real. You grow fond of each member of the family differently, and I like that. You'll find yourself laughing out loud at certain parts, and if you're a parent, you'll connect with the difficulties and truths that Maushart spews. She never takes herself too seriously and I urge you to embrace that with open arms. It's good to connect (pun intended) with an author for a change, instead of the characters.

All in all, if you find yourself scrolling on your phone a lot with no real purpose, read this. And meanwhile, when you're in a public place, turn off your phone and look around you at how many people are acting like robots on their device and ignoring the world around them.

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