I do love to read about how people live their lives different to mine and I was not disappointed. Kolberg is a great writer, there is no superfluous drivel, only what we want to read and it is such an enjoyable read.

at: Kindle Edition
File Size: 577 KB
Print Length: 391 pages

ISBN13: 9780988961043

Paperback, 389 pages
Published March 5th 2015 by Sharael Kolberg
ISBN 0988961040
edition languageEnglish

You can buy it here:    AMAZON UK   or  AMAZON US

Goodreads synopsis:

In A Year Unplugged, Sharael Kolberg chronicles her family’s brave attempt to wean themselves from technology in an effort to reclaim quality family time. The Kolbergs decided to turn off their television, unplug their iPods, iPhones, laptops and digital cameras, and disconnect from e-mail, cell phones and the Internet. Not an easy task.

Sharael’s true-life tale explores how dependent we are on technology and the impact it has on interpersonal relationships and society. Through thought-provoking, humorous and heart-wrenching narrative, Sharael hopes to compel readers to open dialogue about the conscious use of technology.


What I liked best:

A Year Unplugged: A Family’s Life Without Technology reminds us how our lives have changed beyond recognition within a relatively short time. For us older people, we remember as children living the life she has written about (and I am only in my sixties!) However, for Sharael and her family her life has always included technology so how could she possibly know any different, especially as we now live in a world where technology is the norm.

This was one brave decision for her to make especially for family with a child aged 6. I loved reading how not only did their lives change but they grew as people. There is an envy that I feel at how they pared their lives back to a simplicity focussing on peace within themselves and nature around them.

Katelyn loves Hannah Montana and the funniest line I am reading is this,

“Yes, she is overly commercialised, but the bottom line is that Miley Cyrus was a little girl with a dream of becoming a singer and now she’s living that dream. I want the same for Katelyn, minus the flashy clothes.”

Not sure of I know of anyone who wants their daughter to emulate Miley Cyrus! (I think she may have changed her mind later).

I love how there are many intelligent and pertinent quotes throughout this book. Kids are cash cows, and Sharael show us this with Disney’s mission statement which is,

“To create high-quality content and apply innovative technology to raise the level of consumer experience in a way that differentiates Disney.”

She then describes the must-have merchandise that accompanies all Disney films generating even more income.

There are so many wonderful quotes thoughtfully accompanying her story I felt totally inspired by reading it.

“First I cleaned my garage, now I am cleaning my mind of clutter. Reading now allows me to enjoy some peace and quiet, both externally and internally.”

I can identify with this totally, moving to a smaller place I simply got rid of (freecycled) most of my possessions and it was so cathartic.

When we are so proud of multitasking Sharael shows how it is indicative of life crammed with exhaustive doing, instead of peacefully living.

The influence on six year old Katelyn is profound, of course she misses technology but she also embraces the world around her giving her a new perspective on life. Sharael volunteers gardening and creates a friendship garden in her home with her Katelyn.

“I had no idea that volunteering my time would inevitably lead to bonding with my daughter. What a wonderful gift.”

It is sadly obvious, how her husband Jeff is not able to unplug totally because of his job and therefore misses out on giving more attention to their daughter missing out on the same closer bond. Kolberg shows how people get sucked into the norm of husbands working full time, then when they get home to ‘finish/prepare a report’ for the next day. Yes they spend their time hiking and other outdoor activities instead of sitting in front of a tv screen is positive family time, but it is a sorry state for the world to be in where companies insist on 12 hour day working time to ‘keep in the game’ so to speak.

“I had an epiphany. I might not be who I think I am. I thought I could not live without technology, but I can. Technology has been such a huge part of who I am – defining my career, social life, relationships, education, interests. I’m realising that I can be someone other than who I thought.”

Writing this review I realised I had noted so many passages that inspired me and wanted to personally keep. In fact if I passed on all of them I would basically be re-writing the book here!!

Whoever thinks unplugging is easy, read this book. Whoever thinks technology does not affect your children, read this book. Read it anyway because there are lots of ideas to bring you closer together as a family.
Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an ebook copy in return for my honest review. (less)