Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?

Overview


A mother-daughter writing team reports on what’s really up with kids today

Science writer Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter, journalist Samantha Henig, off er a smart, comprehensive look at what it’s really like to be twentysomething—and to what extent it’s di erent for Millennials than it was for their Baby Boomer parents. Th e Henigs combine the behavioral science literature for insights into how young people make choices about schooling, career, marriage, and ...

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Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?

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Overview


A mother-daughter writing team reports on what’s really up with kids today

Science writer Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter, journalist Samantha Henig, off er a smart, comprehensive look at what it’s really like to be twentysomething—and to what extent it’s di erent for Millennials than it was for their Baby Boomer parents. Th e Henigs combine the behavioral science literature for insights into how young people make choices about schooling, career, marriage, and childbearing; how they relate to parents, friends, and lovers; and how technology both speeds everything up
and slows everything down. Packed with oft en-surprising discoveries, Twentysomething is a two-generation conversation that will become the definiftive book on being young in our time.
 
“Th e fullest guide through this territory . . . A densely researched report on the state of middleclass young people today, drawn from several data sources and filtered through a comparative lens.”
The New Yorker

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Editorial Reviews

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What began as a New York Times Magazine piece and then a viral sensation became a full-bodied, lively exchange of generational opinions and practices about everything from dating, friendship, and marriage to schooling, debt, birth control, and childbearing. The most advantageous way for Millennials to meet Baby Boomers.

Publishers Weekly
After New York Times Magazine writer Henig penned a piece on 20-somethings that went “viral,” she teamed up with her 27-year-old daughter, Samantha (NYT Magazine online news editor), to explore the topic in greater depth. The mother-daughter duo covers schooling, career choices, love and marriage, having babies, moving away from home, and other milestones, concluding that many of these issues are now delayed by at least five years. The authors base their findings on an admittedly nonscientific sampling of 127 respondents who answered their questionnaire as well as on current scientific research, and wrap up each chapter with a final judgment on whether the issue is either the “Same as It Ever Was” (as in friendship and marriage) or “Now is New” (as in schooling and childbearing). Many of their conclusions resonate with the work of psychologist Jeffrey Arnett, who has argued that there is a new developmental stage called “emerging adulthood,” characterized by identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between, and seeing a sense of possibilities. While Boomers and “Millennials” have much in common, clearly this generation of 20-somethings confronts some unprecedented difficulties and changes, including escalating college costs and debt, the option to use reproductive technology for later childbearing, and the belief that access to the Internet is a fundamental human need, right up there with air and water. With humor and insight, the authors deftly volley commentary and observation across the generation gap. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
A mother and daughter examine the millennials, children born in the United States from 1980 through 1990. New York Times Magazine contributing writer Robin Henig (Pandora's Baby: How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution, 2004, etc.) and daughter Samantha--online news editor at the same magazine--expand on a feature article by Robin that appeared in that magazine in 2010. The millennial generation has been stereotyped as lazy, unable to find meaningful jobs and much more--most of it uncomplimentary. The authors keep their primary focus on whether the millenials are really that different from Baby Boomers and other generations. In nine substantive chapters, each built around a specific issue (career choices, marriage, parenthood, friendship, etc.), the Henigs present evidence and issue a verdict about whether the millennial generation is indeed different from earlier generations. When the point of view switches from mother to daughter, a frequently refreshing change that is never confusing, the change is stated directly or a new typeface appears. Robin and Samantha do not hide all their disagreements, within the nuclear family or as collaborating authors, but they seem to agree on most of the issues. The three realms they conclude are substantially different from generations past are whether and when to become parents; whether and how to pay for education beyond high school; and sorting through a wider range of choices when reaching personal or professional crossroads. Some of the realms that apparently have not changed much include career prospects, how to stay healthy, and the importance of close friends. An examination that escapes the dangers of overgeneralization to provide provocative information presented compellingly.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142180341
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 429,189
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Robin Marantz Henig is an author and journalist. She has written eight previous books and is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. Her daughter, Samantha Henig, is a journalist in her mid-twenties. She is the web editor of the New York Times Magazine. They live in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

What follows is some of the best and most relevant research available—not about the statistics of college debt or unemployment, but about the psychology of being on the verge of the rest of your life.

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