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A Year Without Made in China: One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy

3.06  ·  Rating Details ·  1,029 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
A Year Without "Made in China" provides you with a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining account of how the most populous nation on Earth influences almost every aspect of our daily lives. Drawing on her years as an award-winning journalist, author Sara Bongiorni fills this book with engaging stories and anecdotes of her family's attempt to outrun China's reach-by ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,099)
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Bronwen
Oct 25, 2007 Bronwen rated it did not like it
A Year Without "Made in China" is the author Sara Bongiorni's account of her family's experience boycotting all items manufactured in China for an entire year. Bongiorni makes it clear in the first chapter that there is no noble cause or ethical reasons for this boycott, it is simply an "experiment," to see if her family can succeed in banning Chinese merchandise from their lives.

The author's somewhat frivolous reason for the boycott, as well as her family's die-hard consumerism makes me think
...more
Ciara
Apr 07, 2010 Ciara rated it did not like it
i have determined that the folks who write reviews at goodreads are an amazingly charitable group, so the fact that this book has more one-star reviews that five-star reviews really speak volumes. personally, i wish there was some sort of dark limbo available between "it was awful" & "it was okay". because i don't think book was so awful, but it certainly wasn't as good as "okay". call this a 1.5-star review.

the premise: author sara bongiorni is a financial journalist & begins to realize
...more
Lisa
Apr 12, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: did-not-finish, 2008
I had to pick this up at the library since "a year of..." books are all the rage. Wow, was this one a mistake. Perhaps Sara's journalism writing is better, but in this book she really missed the mark. I got through about 80 pages before I couldn't stand any more.

She seems to be unable to own her decision to boycott China for a year--she's unwilling to write her reasons down on product return slips, for example. Her inability to own the decision is at war with an inflated sense that other people
...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Apr 15, 2009 Books Ring Mah Bell rated it really liked it
An easy read on globalization 101.
After reading an article on China’s production of goods for the United States, the author has a thought: to not purchase anything from China for one year. Nothing personal against China, she just wonders if it can be done. She discovers that it’s hard to find toys not made in China (at one point, her 2 year old daughter copies her, picking a box up from a shelf, looking at the bottom and saying disgustedly, “China!” and slams the box back down. Finding shoes fo
...more
Christine
Jul 07, 2008 Christine rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: moron self-proselytizing housewives
First off: the author's reasons for the boycott were weak and unconvincing. The best defense for why she did this experiment was "to have material to write a book about", since "to see if it can be done" doesn't quite float with me or other readers.

Secondly: It seems like so much of her book revolves around the toys of the children. I'm sorry, the last time I checked, most households' budgets do not revolve around children's toys. After watching her interview on Amazon, I felt like I had been du
...more
Gail
Feb 18, 2008 Gail rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
It doesn't happen often, but there are rare occassions when I can't force myself to finish a book.

This one is one of 'em.

After reading a few other reviews about the book (AFTER I checked it out of the library, of course), I agree with what many others had to say: The concept of going a year (or even six months) without buying goods made in China probably would have been better suited for a long-form magazine article.

Not a book. Especially not one in which the writing (a lot of the time) just fee
...more
Janelle
Mar 21, 2008 Janelle rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lain
Mar 24, 2008 Lain rated it really liked it
I was enthralled with the concept of this book -- could an average American family live an entire year without buying anything made in China?

Bongiorini's writing style made what could have been a dry topic on world economics come alive. Her humor and slice-of-life memoir of her family's year was entertaining and a fun, quick read.

However, something was missing -- I was waiting for a big "aha" but instead felt the book was more an exam of greed in a disposable culture than "can we live without C
...more
Christy
Apr 06, 2008 Christy rated it liked it
For a fluffy, fairly entertaining read of one family's random half-hearted attempt to go without products made in China, this was fine.
As a "true life adventure in the global economy," meh, not so much.
I just don't get the sense that the author really cared as much about her experiment as she did about the fact that she was going to tell us all about it (oh, and about how hot her husband is, don't forget!)
And, this family just buys TOO MUCH STUFF. Flip-flops and a blow-up pool are not the dire
...more
Gail
Jun 17, 2008 Gail rated it liked it
I liked this book, but I can't quite decide if other people would like it. At the beginning of the book, I thought that this book might make a better article than an entire book. As it progressed, I liked hearing about her issues with trying to avoid products made in China (especially during holidays and birthdays). It also bothered me at first that the author didn't have a real reason to boycott Chinese items....she just wanted to see if it could be done. But in the same way, I liked that she w ...more
Elizabeth
Mar 18, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Kassandra
Shelves: book-group
I thought the premise of this story was interesting, but that was it. Overall the book was disapointing. The author decided to boycott all things made in china for a year. Her ignorance (not knowing that Hong Kong was a part of China for example) was slightly baffling. She didn't take any action with her experiment and everything she did was on the surface level. Her story could have been an intersting article, but that's it.
Pam
Dec 19, 2007 Pam rated it liked it
Interesting topic, pretty shallowly done.

She didn't seem to know exactly why she was doing it. I could only assume cause giving something up for a year and writing a book about it is trendy.

Really, giving up Mandarin organges and seeking out crappy toys made by slave labor in pakistan instead just seems, well, dumb.
karinajean
Oct 13, 2008 karinajean rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
I didn't care for this author and her family. the kids seemed bratty for NEEDING things, they were constantly shopping and driving from one end of town to the other, they had no discussion on where all the plastic bags they brought their non-chinese goods home in, etc. etc. etc.
Poiema
Oct 14, 2008 Poiema rated it liked it
I should have written this book. Though I have never engaged in a formal boycott of Chinese imports, I have been married to a man who, for 31 years has challenged me to buy American products. This is not because he has a vendetta against China. No, it is rooted in concern for the United States of America, her self-sufficiency, her economic health, and ultimately her sovereignty.

My husband tends to go a step farther than did Sara Bongiorni, who authored the book that tells of her year's experimen
...more
Trena
Dec 28, 2010 Trena rated it really liked it
Sarah Bongiorni and her family decided to go a year without buying anything labeled "Made in China." This is not, as she readily acknowledges, the same thing as not buying anything made in China because so many components are manufactured there and assembled elsewhere, and food and drug items are not always labeled with their country of origin. It was not a sophisticated plan, but a simple consumer experiment--which is what I appreciated about it. Much like No Impact Man, this is about a regular ...more
Denice
Apr 26, 2009 Denice rated it it was ok
I have been waiting a really really long time to read this book! It had so much promise, and it was such a disappointment! The author admits upfront that she has nothing against China, and isn't doing a boycott for any political or human-rights agenda. She mentions a few jobs that Americans' jobs are being outsourced, but she doesn't attach any value to it. She basically calls it an experiment. What is disappointing is that she doesn't even TRY to research into anything about factories, human ri ...more
Kyla
Mar 18, 2008 Kyla rated it did not like it
This started out as 3-star review (my standard for an "eh" book) but the more I thought about this book, the angrier I got. It should have been a lock: I am kinda obsessed about not buying "Made In China" goods (hard when you are obsessed with Target/have a baby) but I really, really try to avoid it if I can. But this author and her family used NO ingenuity when trying to get around the MIC label - no second hand, no vintage,and worst, no making things themselves. As a result, she constantly rab ...more
Kathryn
Jun 10, 2009 Kathryn rated it did not like it
This book was truly disappointing. The premise of the book: Sara Bongiorni chronicles her family's experiences eschewing goods made in China for an entire year. In order for this concept to work, Ms. Bongiorni should have interspersed her own experiences and observations on the difficulty of avoiding Chinese-manufactured projects with some solid analysis of China's role in the global economy. Had she done so, there might have been some value or substance to her book. However, what she has produc ...more
Brooke Hembree
Mar 02, 2012 Brooke Hembree rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting premise, flawed execution. I love the idea of cutting out Chinese made products and I have no doubt that it can be done, but I was disappointed with this book. The reasons for avoiding products that were "Made in China" were weak ("It's an experiment!" "China is too big and other people should have a turn to make things) and I was frustrated that the project didn't really seem to change any underlying attitudes. Several months into the experiment, Bongiorno breaks down and buys her c ...more
Kerry
May 10, 2009 Kerry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Of all the good reasons to pick from to boycott products from China for a year - humanitarian, political, economical, environmental - this woman went with the lesser known important reason, curiosity! She was apparently curious as to whether or not a consumer driven, uncreative, ethically empty woman, such as herself, could survive the challenge of forcing her family to go without the needless, trivial things that humans all over the world wouldn't even know existed. A whole chapter was devoted ...more
Erin
Aug 12, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
I taught this book in a critical reading class at a community college. I like how it opened up the minds of my students to learn more about consumerism and globalization in the United States without them necessarily realizing it. The author tells the story of her family's adventures with not purchasing products made in China, but at the same time opens up many avenues of discussion. My students began reporting how many products in their houses came from China; how they weren't boycotting China, ...more
Caitlin
Aug 26, 2016 Caitlin rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book. Out of concerns for safety (lead in toys/jewelry + poisonous pet food and baby products) and for its dismal HR record, I've been trying to avoid buying items made in China when I can. It's rather easy and quite satisfactory, except for electronics (iPhone, MacBook, etc). In the process, I've discovered some great companies that offer high-quality products (ex. espadrilles made in Spain by a shop in Montreal, American-made leather bags, cherry pitter made in German ...more
Joy
Sep 16, 2014 Joy rated it it was ok
I've had this book on my to-read list for a while, and I picked it up for a plane flight despite some of the poor reviews I've seen. Unfortunately, this was a mistake, and while I did learn a few things from the book the main takeaway was profound irritation with the author and her haphazard project.

The basis for this story is simple - the author decides to try and spend a year without buying things that were made in China, and convinces her husband to join her so it's a family project. Great! T
...more
Sue Webb
Sep 12, 2016 Sue Webb rated it really liked it
Although this book is a bit dated (it was written in 2007) the challenge of living a year without purchasing items Made in China would probably be even more of a challenge today then it was then.
The author notes, "The world is changing fast. You have to be ready." The impact on one family's life is fascinating to note: the task of trying to survive without Chinese goods-especially at Christmas time with two young kids is difficult--if not nearly impossible. The author finds herself racked with g
...more
Michelle Hart
Jan 17, 2015 Michelle Hart rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2015
This book should have been called A Year Without *Purchasing* Goods Specifically Stamped "Made in China". The author undertakes an experiment, to go a year without buying anything made in China. That premise sounded interesting, if not impossible. However, she really has no reason for the experiment and can't articulate her reason when people question her. I think her 'reason' was she thought it would be a great book idea, honestly. The book is absolutely filled with whining that toys are from C ...more
Elizabeth
Jan 24, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Great idea for a book, but poorly written and shallowly executed. The author didn't explain her motives well at all, if she even really had any. She didn't go into any sort of political or philosophical reasons why one might want to avoid Chinese goods, she simply wanted to see if it was possible.

This made many of her "problems" seem incredibly shallow and she came off as spoiled and whiny. She also didn't shift her buying habits at all, she continued to shop cheap box stores, etc. and then comp
...more
Katya
Jan 02, 2009 Katya rated it liked it
The book is about a family struggling to go a whole year without purchasing anything manufactured in China. The trouble that Made in China merchandise is everywhere - try to buy something at Target.... Fun, quick read and sparked interest for learining more about the topic.
Andrew Clark
Mar 06, 2015 Andrew Clark rated it did not like it
I was intrigued by the idea of this book, but it didn't take long for me to realize that this would be much better served as a long article or essay. Just not enough substance for an entire book.

The characters in the book annoyed me, and the way that they went about the boycott (which they failed at) were irritating. I hesitate to say that they even came close to successfully boycotting Chinese goods for the year. The way that it was written was also very elementary and not at all engaging - alm
...more
Dinah
Oct 01, 2014 Dinah rated it it was ok
Despite some interesting experiment results—it's even harder than I'd have guessed—this book suffered greatly from too much emphasis on the tension between the author and her husband over this project. Their borderline mutual contempt (she nicknames him "The Weakest Link", for example) is sad and makes me think the project was a net negative for the family.

Perhaps it's just depressing by comparison with the maturity of the full buy-in Barbara Kingsolver and her family reached before starting the
...more
Nicole
Aug 15, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
I'm not to the end of this one yet, but I'm kind of making myself finish it.

I'll start by saying that I've never attempted this project myself, so maybe I just don't really have a clue what I would do. That said, while the author stresses and often whines about not being able to find what she is looking for because, indeed, nearly everything seems to be made in China, she doesn't strike me as stretching herself with her creativity. She does manage to make her own mousetrap, but beyond that (at l
...more
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