THE BIG TURNOFF by Ellen Currey-Wilson


Confessions of a TV-Addicted Mom Trying to Raise a TV-Free Kid
Email this review


An entertaining, inspiring and decidedly countercultural account of parenting in a media-crazy world.

From the moment she became pregnant, Currey-Wilson decided to shield her child from television. That was easier said than done. TV seemed to shadow the baby even before birth. During labor, his mother got into an argument with a midwife who thought that the television might provide distraction from her contractions. When little Casey finally arrived, Mom began to realize that she’d set herself quite a challenge. She still enjoyed TV herself and snuck in a show when Casey napped or was cared for by Dad, but her son watched almost no television before his sixth birthday. His teachers credited some of his unusual academic aptitude to the fact that he was reading or playing when other kids were zoned out in front of Barney. Yet this book’s most fascinating sections don’t have much directly to do with Casey. The author’s television turnoff sensitized her to the important place TV plays in friendships and even familial relationships. She got along best with her somewhat difficult mother, for example, when the two were parked in front of the tube; once TV time was limited, they struggled to find a new way to interact. Her stance also affected her bonding with other new mothers, who felt threatened and judged by her TV rules. As Casey got older, she worried that his friends’ moms didn’t want to have him over to play, since they knew he would rather draw or jump rope than watch a video.

Debut author Currey-Wilson takes TV seriously, but never herself so much.

Pub Date: April 20th, 2007
ISBN: 1-56512-539-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2007