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November 2018

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No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for: People still looking for answers to how we got here (i.e. got Trump) and some thoughts on ways to move forward.

In a nutshell: Trump’s election shouldn’t have been a surprise, and it doesn’t need to be the end of the world.

Worth quoting:
“If the goal is to move from a society based on endless taking and depletion to one based on caretaking and renewal, then all of our relationships have to be grounded in those same principles of reciprocity and care.”

Why I chose it: I keep looking for books to help me figure out a good way forward, and Junebug’s review suggested it’d be a good one. And it was, mostly.

Review:
I feel like there are two books here: a history book and a how-to book. And while the tag lines and blurbs are promoting the latter, the vast majority of it feels like the former to me. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just feel like lately I’m reading a whole lot of build up and not a lot of “now do this.” It’s especially frustrating when some of the things she warns us about not only happened but were way worse. I spent a fair amount of time in the first chunk saying “Oh honey, past you was a bit off, and not in a positive direction.”

That’s not to say there aren’t things in here that I learned. There’s a lot about US and world history I know nothing about, and haven’t sat with to connect all the dots, and to that end I think Ms. Klein does a mostly good job. However, at times it felt like a book that was trying to fit as much relevant information as possible without the best through-line. It could have benefited from some stronger editing and perhaps reorganization, though I appreciate she was trying to get this book out quickly as the Trump administration continued rolling over human and civil rights ad the environment.

The very last bit of the book focuses on options for going forward, but even there it feels a little … insufficient. She talks about the Leap Manifesto she was a part of putting together in Canada, but there isn’t a lot of how to try to reproduce that in the US or even within a state in the US.

I think I just want to know what to do. Does that make sense? And that’s a lot to put onto any author — or anyone, really — but at this point I’m tired of the history, at least the parts I’ve lived through. And that’s why for me this book is only three stars.

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