A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

Book - 2014
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A witty, gracious, and charmingly illustrated anti-consumer manifesto. Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than giving in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead. Based on a visual essay that was first published on The Hairpin, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is a beautiful and witty take on the growing "slow shopping" movement. Sarah is a well-known blogger and illustrator, and she writes brilliantly without preaching or guilt-tripping. Whether she's trying to justify the purchase of yet another particleboard IKEA home furnishing, debating the pros and cons of leg warmers or calculating the per-day usage cost of big-ticket items, Sarah's poignant musings will resonate with any reader who's ever been susceptible to an impulse buy
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Books, 2014.
ISBN: 9780143124719
Branch Call Number: 640.73 LAZAR
Characteristics: 173 pages : color illustrations ; 19 cm.


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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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