Book Review: Consumed by Harry Wallop


This is an analysis of class and consumerism in the UK from the 1950s, up until the present day. Parts of it I found utterly fascinating, in particular the description of how big brands choose the location of their shops (and what they actually stock in those shops). I’d never thought about it before, but of course there is a reason why some high streets are plagued with bookmakers and pay day loan companies.

I found the notion of ‘Like attracts like’ rather chilling, this ghettoisation of people in deprived areas. As the author puts it:

In this way, postcodes calcify. And the wheels of consumer mobility start to rust.’

It’s not all quite so fascinating. Least interesting were the sections where the author examines his own rather aristocratic background, and running through the entire book is a need to categorise people into their own little tribes, Asda Mums for example, or the Wood Burning Stovers. This book is at its best when it’s exploring the history of class or showcasing the thoughts of real people, rather than hypothetical stereotypes (which isn’t to say those stereotypes don’t exist).

Otherwise a good read. And one that left me feeling that I’d learned something, not only about the recent history of the UK, but also about how it operates today.

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About allpastmidnight

Hi, I'm Alison, I am a mid-thirties mum to two children, Little Man and Wee Girl. Wee Girl is pre-verbal and has autism, while Little Man is the sort of happy chatty little guy who gets into everything and sings at the top of his lungs — until the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger and he goes silent. I am cynical, sweary, and a bit disorganised, and I blog about parenting, ASD, food and just about anything else I can think of. Feel free to follow me on any of my social media. I can also be contacted by email at allpastmidnight [at] outlook [dot] com.
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