THE HAMLET SYNDROME by Adrienne Miller

THE HAMLET SYNDROME

Overthinkers Who Underachieve
By

KIRKUS REVIEW

According to Miller (Rhetoric/Berkeley) and Goldblatt, there are "millions" of intelligent, college-educated, idealistic men and women ages 22-39 who have opted out of the quest for careers, money, and status. Many of these latter-day "Hamlets" vegetate in low-paid, dead-end jobs. Some become "perpetual students"; others drop out of highpaid careers or consider themselves "artists." The authors claim that virtually all were raised in suburban homes, instilled with high ideals, and inspired to strive for success; but also were sheltered from awareness of the cutthroat competition of the workplace. When faced with the choice of compromising their beliefs or making money, they have eschewed the latter. But they have seldom translated their humanistic concerns into jobs in the nonprofit or issue-oriented sector. Nearly throughout, the authors are cavalier about these Hamlets: they suffer from a "syndrome"; their lives become "grim." But in the final pages comes a flip-flop: "Hamlet is the first warning sign of terminal cultural decay: We have created an order so completely given over to inhuman, destructive values that even people who benefit the most from it can't stand to be part of it." Overlong, occasionally unfocused, noble in intent.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1989
ISBN: 688-07851-6
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:




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