The Week magazine named Laurie Essig’s American Plastic as their book of the week on Jan 28th.
Book of the week: American Plastic by Laurie Essig
The author, a sociologist, traces runaway consumer debt and the silicone-breast boom to a “cult of individualism” that says if you’re not rich, it’s your own fault.
POSTED ON JANUARY 28, 2011, AT 9:05 AM
The thesis of this book “sounds absurd,” said Buzzy Jackson in The Boston Globe. Spotting a common thread in boob jobs and credit cards, sociologist Laurie Essig declares that America’s “addiction to plastic” conceals a graver social ill. But while “Essig’s strength is her humor,” she actually makes a strong case that both runaway consumer debt and the silicone-breast boom are rooted in a “cult of individualism” that says if you’re not rich, it’s your own fault. “Among the reasons commonly cited for plastic surgery, trickle-down economics is rarely invoked,” said June Thomas in Bloomberg Businessweek. But Essig blames Reagan-era policies for launching the trend, then backs up her charge with evidence. Of the cosmetic-surgery candidates she spoke with, many planned to borrow, and “nearly all” claimed they were going under the knife “as a response to economic insecurity.” The reasoning? They needed to look good to hold a job or a spouse.