Book Reviews

Why Are Books on Teens Today So Atrocious?

YouthFacts reviews and fact-checks the most popular, influential books and media on youth today. Let’s put it bluntly: these authors (despite prominently featured academic or professional credentials) can’t get anything right. Their “facts” rely heavily on breathless news reports, gross generalizations from rare anecdotes, grossly butchered statistics, and panics so bizarre and baseless as to raise questions about basic sanity. Most authors don’t seem to understand that fictional teens on TV shows aren’t real teens, that youth in therapy and sensational news reports don’t representall teens, that glorifying their own hazily-recalled, idyllic past childhoods in comparison to some newsmagazine horror-report on teens today is just plain idiotic.

Generation Mean

Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable than Ever Before

(Jean Twenge, 2007). Talk about narcissistic! San Diego State University psychologist Twenge’s grotesquely unscholarly pop-rant, Generation Me, gushes self-love as she endlessly tells us how morally and intellectually superior she is to the stupid, shallow young of today while indulging sloppy, often absurd, “research.” Naturally, the media and commentators adore this book: it’s me-me-mean.

Girl Bashing

Authors are vilifying teenage girls, in particular, as ever-more violent, mean, shallow, materialistic, slutty, and self-destructive. When scrutinized, these girl-bashing books are themselves shallow, destructive, and, yes… mean. A few of the worst follow. More book reviews on a broader array of youth topics will be posted in the future.

See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It

(James Garbarino, 2006). You bet… Powerpuff Girls are driving girls to mayhem. The media-worshipped book that gets nothing right.

Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice: How We Can Stop Girls’ Violence

(Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Howard R. Spivak, 2006). The awful title says it all. Harvard School of Public Health should be ashamed for producing this disgusting tirade of distortion and cruel stereotypes.

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

(Mary Pipher, 1995, 2005). If you’re one of a small fraction of culture-troubled suburban girls, this book may help. But Pipher has to pretend her apocalyptic misery describes all girls today, who she misrepresents as a gender-wide mental ward of walking wounded. Author, revive thyself.

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence

(Rosalind Wiseman, 2002). Talk about name calling! Wiseman brands girls confused, insecure, lashing out, totally obnoxious, moody, cruel, sneaky, lying, mean, exclusive, catty… that’s just a few of the epithets from the first dozen pages! And she claims to like girls?

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body

(Courtney E. Martin, 2007). In Martin’s  grim, joyless world, the happiest, healthiest, most successful generation of girls and young women ever is really “a bubbling, acid pit of guilt and shame and jealousy and restlessness and anxiety,” “more addicted and more diseased than any generation of young women that has ever come before,” etc. Martin tells us she endlessly agonizes in “sad and hopelessly misery” morning, noon, and night that her body isn’t perfect. It’s refreshing that most girls today are overcoming life’s hardships instead of succumbing to Martin’s culture-war angst masquerading as “feminism.”