Guest Review: ‘Green Goes With Everything’ by Sloan Barnett

Green Goes With Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and Cleaner Planet
By Sloan Barnett
ISBN-10: 1416578455
ISBN-13: 978-1416578451
Hardcover, 320 pages
September 23, 2008
Atria
Reviewed by Cynthia Murphy

Going green is the hot right now. However, living a greener life doesn’t have to be a trend; it can be part of your daily routine. That is the premise behind Sloan Barnett’s Green Goes with Everything. Her concept is sound, but the book is somewhat lacking in execution.

A large portion of the book seems to be devoted to promoting Shaklee Get Clean products. Barnett’s husband is chairman of the company. This seems like a conflict of interest. I do have to give Barnett a bit of credit regarding this problem. She does admit to being a shameless pitchwoman for the company. However, she also spends time pointing out her journalism credentials. By promoting her husband’s company at every opportunity, Barnett loses her credibility as a journalist. She is far too biased in this respect. I actually could have tolerated the Shaklee promotion more easily if she had limited it to the chapter on cleaning products. Unfortunately, Sloan Barnett is the shameless pitchwoman that she claims to be. References to Shaklee or its products appear in almost every chapter.

Now that I’ve pointed out the biggest flaw in Green Goes with Everything, I also need to tell you what works in this book. The format is excellent for this type of information. Each chapter opens with “The Plain Green Truth.” This is a section of bullet points that explains the key ideas in the chapter. In many cases, this section breaks down various myths about the difficulty of going green. This section also has a strong visual impact. It is printed on a light green background with strong black type. Barnett closes each chapter in a similar manner with “Five Green-Hot Tips.” The tips recap the suggested changes and often offer encouragement in making those changes.

Sloan Barnett has organized this book into easy to follow chapters. Personally I think she has devoted way too much ink to the subject of cleaning, but those are also the chapters that promote her husband’s company repeatedly. Most of the other topics are handled in approximately twenty pages. Each chapter is broken down into easy to read subsections. This makes the information easier to handle for most readers.

Green Goes with Everything features a wonderful resource guide at the end. Barnett has included web site listings for dozens of companies with green products. She has also organized this information into easy to use categories. This is the one place where she doesn’t promote Shaklee. It is simply included on the list. This is a great go-to guide for information ranging from advocacy groups to green mattresses.

There is another flaw with Green Goes with Everything. Barnett writes with two different tones- alarmist or holier than thou. When she wants to tell you how horribly unsafe everything is, she favors an alarmist tone. When she wants to tell you how much better her family’s green life is, she goes with the holier than thou tone. Barnett’s research is strong. She definitely knows her subject, but her connection seems too personal at times. Basically, Barnett is too close to her subject. A frightening incident with her eldest son led to her green lifestyle, and it seems like she can’t quite distance herself from that moment. A more detached tone would work better.

Green Goes with Everything is an interesting book. It has quite a bit of valuable information. Unfortunately, Sloan Barnett seems to have checked her journalism credentials at the door. As a side note, this is definitely not a book for hypochondriacs. According to Barnett, unless you have already gone as green as she has just about everything in your home is going to kill you. (This is part of the alarmist tone I mentioned earlier.) I was expecting a more approachable book. Green Goes with Everything has moments of approachability, but the overall tone seems intimidating for someone who is just starting to go green.

Sabrina Brawley
reviews@breenibooks.com

I'm an avid reader with a serious self-improvement and motivation addiction!

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