GROWN-UPS"": A Generation in Search of Adulthood by Cheryl Merser

GROWN-UPS"": A Generation in Search of Adulthood

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Here, Merser (Honorable Intentions: The Manners of Courtship in the 80's, 1983) argues that the cultural changes of the past 40 years have caused today's baby-boomers to delay adulthood and think of themselves as oversized kids. Merser's contention that adulthood ""is something to reach for,"" not an automatic process, rings true, but when she tries to persuade the reader that the vast majority of young people today have failed to ""make successive and successful connections to an unpredictable and changing world,"" she is unconvincing. Her anecdotes about baby-boomer yuppies with good jobs, empty refrigerators and even emptier hearts are effective, but are they representative? One wonders if Merser isn't focusing on the percentage of the population that has failed to grow up, achieve intimacy, and feel ""genuine"" just to prove her point. In addition, by focusing on a segment of her generation that is exclusively white and middle-class, Merser limits her thesis even further. To judge by her stories of summer houses, publishing companies, restaurant dinners, and fast-track careers, everyone born between 1946 and 1964 is a yuppie--and that just isn't the case. By relying on informal anecdotes and sweeping generalizations instead of hard data, Merser turns a promising idea into turgid fluff.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1987
Publisher: Putnam