Excerpt from Affluenza by   Wann, de Graaf, Naylor, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


The All-Consuming Epidemic

by   Wann, de Graaf, Naylor

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2001, 275 pages
    Aug 2002, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Table of Contents

Part I: Symptoms

  1. Shopping Fever
  2. A Rash of Bankruptcies
  3. Swollen Expectations
  4. Chronic Congestion
  5. The Stress of Excess
  6. Family Convulsions
  7. Dilated Pupils
  8. Community Chills
  9. An Ache for Meaning
  10. Social Scars
  11. Resource Exhaustion
  12. Industrial Diarrhea
  13. The Addictive Virus
  14. Dissatisfaction Guaranteed

Part Two: History

  1. Original Sin
  2. An Ounce of Prevention
  3. The Road Not Taken
  4. An Emerging Epidemic
  5. The Age of Affluenza
  6. Is There a (Real) Doctor in the House?

Part III: Treatment

  1. The Road to Recovery
  2. Bed Rest
  3. Aspirin and Chicken Soup
  4. Fresh Air
  5. The Right Medicine
  6. Back to Work
  7. Vaccinations and Vitamins
  8. Political Prescriptions
  9. Annual Check-Ups
  10. Healthy Again

Chapter 1 : Shopping Fever

Gotta listen to me honey
Gotta get all your money
Gotta know just where I stand
If you want to be my date
Well you better get it straight
I'm a big time shopping man.. . . .
Baby come on, there's a whole lotta shoppin' going on.. . . .
Get that money out of your savings account
There's a whole lotta shoppin' going on. . . .

– folksinger Alan Atkisson

It's Thanksgiving Day and eight-year-old Jason Jones has just finished stuffing himself with turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie a la mode. He sits at his PC, frantically typing a list of presents he hopes to receive from Santa Claus for Christmas. He plans to deliver the list to Santa the next day, opening day of the Christmas shopping season, and, incidentally, of affluenza season. Jason's list contains ten items, including a trip to Disney World, a mountain bike, a cell phone, a DVD player, and several compact disks.

Jason is no dummy; he doesn't really believe in Santa Claus, but he knows his parents usually give him what he asks Santa for, so he gets up bright and early on Friday to play the game. Jason and his mother, Janet, set out in their Lincoln Navigator and, half an hour later, arrive at the All-Star Bazaar, where thousands of people are already fighting for the remaining parking spots nearest the entrance.

The mall is jam-packed with frantic holiday shoppers, unwitting and at-risk in an affluenza hot zone, armed only with credit cards and checkbooks. In one store, a crowd gathers to watch two parents duke it out over the last remaining Dino-Man, the latest hot kids' toy, a doll with the body of a weightlifter and the head of a Tyrannosaurus (and selling faster than Beanie Babies). In a corner, a mother sobs, knowing she got there too late to get a Dino-Man for her son. "I knew I should have camped out here last night," she wails. Other customers, already exhausted, sit on benches by the bottom of an escalator, beside mountains of merchandise, looking both tense and bored.

It takes Jason nearly an hour to get through the line to Santa's lap and deliver his list. His mom leaves him in the video arcade with a roll of quarters while she makes the rounds of the dozens of shops in the mall. Hours later, on the way home, they stop at Blockbuster's to rent a couple of movies so Jason won't complain of boredom that night. Though the day is sunny and warm, unusually so for late fall, even the park in Jason's upper-middle class subdivision is devoid of kids. There are plenty of children in this neighborhood of young professionals. But if they're not shopping, they're indoors communing with Nintendo Play Stations or The Cartoon Network. It's a tough choice for Jason, but he's tired of the games he has so he turns on the TV.

From Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, by John De Graaf, et al. © June 9, 2001, Berrett-Koehler used by permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.