Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Review - Een jaar offline -'A year offline'- by Bram van Montfoort
Rating: 4/5 stars
The 24 year old journalism student Bram is always online. He takes his iPad with him, wherever he goes and spents hours on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Constantly he gets new e-mails, messages, tweets, likes, requests and other notifications. In an attempt to get rid of his addiction he decides to go offline for a whole year.
He sets himself two rules:
1. Don't use internet or a mobile phone
2. Don't make other people use internet or their phone for you.
I picked this book up at my local bookstore not knowing to much about it. The cover is very pretty and that's what made me pick it up in the first place. After reading the blurb on the back of the book I was intrigued. I couldn't wait to start reading this book.
In my opinion Bram van Montfoort doesn't have a particularly interesting writingstyle. It seems very journalistic, which is not strange considering he studied journalism. He provided a very good overview of his whole year offline and he tried to make it personal, but although he included personal details his writing style made the story feel somewhat distant, as though he was describing how a friend of a friend did this project. Despite of this fact I actually really enjoyed the book!
I thought Bram's project was very interesting. Since I recently moved I know what it's like to live without internet for a while. You think you're one of those persons that isn't really that dependent on it, but it turns out you are! The book deals with all the challenges Bram has to face. How do you meet up with friends if you can't call them on your mobile phone? How do you apply for university when the only possibility to do this is online? How do you keep track of what's going on in the world when you can't simple check it on the internet? How do you know at what time to leave the house to catch a train when you can't check online when the trains go?
I love it when people choose to do a year long project, because a commitment like that can really change you. This became clear in A year offline. At the end of the year Bram was no longer the person he used to be. From a pacesetter at parties he became an introvert, happy with living his life without the internet. Or did he? Maybe he had been an introvert all along, trying not to be, in an extroverted world.
The book was a mixture of diary entries, letters from people who were following his project, monthly assignments from his friend Geo, offline survival tips and comments by addiction counselor Daan. The letters weren't all very interesting, but I loved the concept and the different segments of the book helped to keep me interested. If the entire book only would have been Bram's personal account I might have gotten a little bored after a while.
So far a translation of this book into English has not been published.