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

3.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,193 ratings  ·  270 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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Sep 10, 2007 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
Apr 07, 2010 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 that a
Apr 08, 2008 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
Jul 07, 2008 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
Books Ring Mah Bell
Mar 24, 2008 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
Feb 16, 2008 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
Mar 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2008 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
Mar 29, 2008 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
Mar 08, 2008 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.
Dec 19, 2007 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.
Mar 15, 2008 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
Jun 15, 2008 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
Aug 11, 2009 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
Oct 05, 2007 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.
Oct 14, 2008 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
Mar 07, 2009 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
Feb 02, 2010 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
Dec 21, 2007 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
This book is about a family that tried to live a year without buying anything made in China. As they learned, it is not an easy thing to do. This is written in 'blog style' so it was a bit of a disappointment that there were not any facts or statistics about the effect of buying foreign goods. I thought this book was lacking in a lot of ways. For one, I was wondering why Chinese goods were singled out but it was ok to buy any other country, so if you couldn't buy a product from China it was ok t ...more
Brooke Hembree
Mar 02, 2012 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
Jan 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
The positive: interesting to understand how much is made in China.

Some of the negatives:
-condescending tone. Seems awfully full of herself throughout the book. Makes fun of people a lot, strangers.
-at times it didn’t even seem like she tried that hard to stick with the boycott. Very little research, lots of bending the rules (to the point of putting her family in uncomfortable situations), never tried thrift stores or a good Google search. Lots of looking at stickers in stores but no real out of
Jan 28, 2009 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
Jan 02, 2009 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.
Robert Noll
Feb 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
My comments to the author after stopping at 1/3 of way through the book:
1. You only need to mention once what a great man your husband is. The story of how you met seems like filler to pad the book length.
2. If you are going to avoid products made in China for a year, be proud of it. Don't try to circumvent your ban by using your self-imposed "gift exception." Stand up for yourself, or just say you are trying to write a book.
3. This book seems like a series of blog posts strung together. Make it
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
Sara's description of her attempt to live one year without purchasing products made in China.

Some elements were humorous, but she compared herself to other people a lot and she kept referring to her husband as "the Weakest Link." I realize it was done for humorous effect (my friend who recommended the book certainly found it funny), but I'm also reading another book that talks about the I-It effect of not seeing other people as actual people, but more as problems, obstacles, offenders, etc - obj
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was neither informative or entertaining. She had an interesting premise, but that's where it ends. She doesn't really have a reason for the boycott to frame the book around. She continues to shop at big box stores. When she wants something made in China, she has a friend or family member buy it. The memoir part doesn't really put her family in the best light. (She complains of all the kids' plastic garbage cluttering the living room, but gives in and lets her child buy a purple plastic ...more
Timmy Tiptoes
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
Energy and time can be better spent on researching our own consumerism culture and the problem it has created for ourselves. China will not forever willing to be a polluted third world country making affordable/cheap goods for America. Enjoy it now while it lasts. This world is not black and white and it is not a zero sum game. Maybe our own very limited tax dollar didn't magically bailed out the country from the last financial crisis, it is quite possible that it was those hard working Chinese ...more
Inger Marie Morell
Feb 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
The author never manage to bring the book below the everyday trivialities or address the big picture.

The idea is great; one year without buying merchandises from China. However the 147 out of 217 pages that I managed to read before giving up is an endless description of everyday trivialities where not being able to buy 6 US plastic toys for a two year old seems to be an everyday challenge.

Reading the book in 2020 it’s a frightening example on consumerism and even though the environmental challen
مهند الخطيب
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
The idea of this book is great, it talks about an American woman who tried not to buy anything that was made in China for a whole year.

The book greatly shows the average American spending habits, as other cultures would consider most of the things that she talked about spoiling and over spending.

The writer, Sara Bongiorni, was as I believe over describing the events that she had, and a lot of the events are very repetitive. Once I finished reading half of the book I could easily see what I am
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