Sunday, June 7, 2015

Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman

Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our ClothesWhere am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes by Kelsey Timmerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because I had to. I know that's a terrible statement to start a review; however, it is true. Where Am I Wearing? is The Peay Read for the 2015-2016 school year. I admit I was intrigued by the title because I do have a great interest in where my clothes are made, where my food comes from, and in general the exports and imports of America and other countries. I like understanding the specialities of each nation. What I don't like is sob stories about "sweat shops" that I believe are often OVER-PLAYED by our "American" media and activists that do nothing but stir the pot here and don't help there. I was afraid I was diving into an extremely liberal agenda (not liberal in a bad way - unbunch your skivvies, but I'll be quite honest, today's liberals scare the crap out of me and I was pretty damn liberal in my youth - I digress) that attempted to make me feel like a #shamefulAmerican. That is NOT what this book is about.

Kelsey Timmerman takes the most compelling and somehow objective approach to understanding where our clothes are made and the lives of the people making them. He introduces their backgrounds, their families, and their value system - which is significantly different than most Americans. He exposes the familial ties of those working in the garment industry, and their triumphs obtained by using this career to reach another (for some).

His journey simply began as a question about where his clothes were made. This inquiry took him on a global journey to Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China, and back again. His travels relate the connection between beggared garment workers' lifestyle and the all-American material lifestyle of high fashion (this includes T-Shirts and flip-flops, by the way. #dont'tjudge). By introducing readers to the people of this industry—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—his story closes the gap between them and us.

I really enjoyed reading this and I hope my students will like it, too.

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