Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Review: I Spy With My Little Eye by Linnea Mills

I Spy With My Little Eye is a non-fiction publication which reflects on a wide variety of modern behaviour and lifestyle choices. Author Linnea Mills examines subjects such as social media use, short-termism is politics and daily life, sexual attitudes, consumerism and celebrity culture among other themes and asks serious questions about the morality of modern society in Britain.

The author uses chapters that are defined by the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues to categorize and dissect the subject matter. That, though, is not to say this is a religious book, it most certainly is not, instead these are used to clearly and effectively define to the reader what the chapter is about using a variety of well-referenced examples delivered in an engaging and easy-to-read style. Although this book deals with serious ideas, it is not a heavy book in either the way it is written nor in size.

In the introduction the author states that the purpose of this book is to stimulate discussion on the subjects raised and this is reflected in the chapters which rather than laying out all the facts surrounding each theme and coming to a conclusion use a style which outlines several examples, asks some questions, makes some suggestions and leaves the subject rather open-ended as if the reader should continue the debate. I certainly appreciate this effort in a world where too many people reject talking about political issues, Linnea Mills is actively encouraging more debate and certainly if we have any desire at all to solve problems then discussion with those who may not agree with us is important.

There is certainly no absence of material for readers to debate here as each of the short chapters is packed with facts and statistics that are often surprising and certainly thought-provoking. Indeed a number of the chapters are exactly as the author describes in the introduction, a collection of information snippets brought together to illustrate a certain point, and this is done well although a little more detailed discussion would have been desirable. In fact, the author's engaging style of writing, delivered as if having a chat over a cup of coffee on the sofa or a beer in the pub, really demands that there should be more to each chapter; she certainly leaves the reader wanting more.

The ideas raised in this book are all very relevant but as a lover of the natural world I would have liked to have seen more content in this book about modern attitudes to the environment, how wild areas are perceived as "wasteland", how habitat destruction is positively packaged as "development" and how the media portray an unrealistic sense of environmental well-being with the way they present wildlife documentaries. I guess some of the themes of misrepresentation are dealt with in some chapters but it seems a great omission not to have dealt more directly with environmental issues.

In reading this book I most certainly did not agree with all of this author's points of view, but I believe that is in fact the point of the book, to be thought-provoking and encourage debate to solve problems rather than have one section of society impose its ideals upon the other. At least I hope that is what the point is as I personally consider this to be one of the biggest problems with the morality of the Western world; the axiomatic assumption that one set of beliefs is superior than another and that they must be imposed upon those that disagree with them; this, I believe, is what results in extreme political-correctness and far-right politics.

I think the very fact that this review has been considerably longer than my average review points to the fact that Linnea Mills has achieved her aims and written a thought-provoking book which encourages discussion and avoiding a head-in-the-sand approach. However, I think the biggest fault is that the book is not longer; I believe that the author has the power to engage her audience further than this short publication allows.

I would recommend this book to anyone that has questioned any of the issues that I have outlined in the beginning of this review. If you are tired of manipulation through digital or printed media, lack of planning by politicians, ultimately the ever-increasing lack of moral behaviour, then this book is for you. It would also be an interesting read for teachers of older students and perhaps could be used for discussion in classrooms. This is a very interesting book and I would have given it a higher score had it been longer and more thorough.

Score: 7/10

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...