The Big Turnoff

Alternately hilarious and trenchant in its observations about our media-crazed culture, this is the true tale of a TV-addicted mother’s struggle to kick the habit and keep the boob tube out of her son’s daily existence.

Like most parents, Ellen Currey-Wilson and her husband aspired to be better parents than their own. Currey-Wilson, who shared most of her childhood with The Beverly Hillbillies, maintained intimate relationships with Mary, Rhoda, and Phyllis, and remained up-to-date on the fictional history of every character on Friends, longs for her son, Casey, to know the people around him better than he knows the Teletubbies. And, like most parents, she goes a bit overboard.

In her revealing and outspoken take on parenting, Currey-Wilson recounts her increasingly outlandish behavior—such as literally throwing herself in front of the TV set at her son’s playmates’ houses to prevent any inadvertent watching—and the intermittent fits of insecurity that find her worrying whether Casey might be ostracized for not knowing the theme song to SpongeBob SquarePants. But something remarkable happens as TV assumes a backseat to real life: Currey-Wilson’s relationships with her laidback husband, new-age sister, eccentric mother, and remarkably self-possessed son begin to deepen and grow. In an age when it’s easier to flip on the TV than to interact with people, The Big Turnoff shows what happens when one woman decides to buck the trend.

Praise for The Big Turnoff

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

This is an amusing account of one woman’s stand against the most dominant force in American culture.

Currey-Wilson writes with self-effacing humor, and any mom can identify with her sincere effort to give her child the best she can.

Like Anne Lamott in "Operating Instructions," Currey-Wilson takes a humorous and self-deprecating look at her own parenting.

This is an awesome book-club book, especially for mothers who are worried about doing the right thing.

Author Ellen Currey-Wilson details the funny and insightful story about her mission to make her house TV free.

This rueful account of a TV addict trying to raise a TV-free child brings to mind Anne Lamott’s parenting classic, "Operating Instruction." Ultimately upbeat, the book is not to be missed‚…even by the most ardent American Idol fan.

With TV references peppered throughout—addiction is, after all, hard to quit—Currey-Wilson explores the role of popular culture in our lives as well as what happens when a mother’s good intentions almost get the best of her.

As a dad who, to this day, regrets not getting a handle on screen time with my now-adult child, I admire Ellen’s courage in fighting off Game Boys and Xboxes.

I was expecting a sort of guide - some alternatives to watching TV - but it’s a first-person account of a semi-neurotic mom who keeps her son away from TV.

I laughed my way through this book and then e-mailed Ellen to tell her how much I enjoyed it.

This fresh, candid, and wonderfully humorous memoir about a mother's efforts to rid her home of TV once and for all will appeal to any parent who would like to also banish the television set from the household.

Television itself could learn much from Currey-Wilson’s confessions.

A smart, funny, and honest account of trying to raise a child without the supporting cast of Homer, SpongeBob, or Dora.