WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: Coming of Age in the Wake of the Baby Boom by Geoffrey T. Holtz

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: Coming of Age in the Wake of the Baby Boom

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KIRKUS REVIEW

We're not slackers -- we've just had a lifetime of bad luck, so cut us some slack"" is the message of this dry and ultimately unconvincing attempt to account for the passions, problems, and peculiarities of the 75 million Americans born between 1960 and 1980. Generation X, twentysomethings, 13th Gen...whatever they're called, they now have a full-length defense of their supposed failings, thanks to 29-year-old law student Holtz. In his litany of complaints, he indicts everything from Ritalin used to tranquilize them as children in the 1970s to the temp jobs that numb them in the 1990s. What emerges is a vague and scattered portrait of a stepped-on, unwanted generation. The main culprits in all this are Baby Boomers, Holtz says, from the ""me-decade,"" during which self-exploration was paramount, divorce rates rose, children were increasingly viewed as a societal burden, and education underwent a period of wild experimentation, to the ""greed is good"" decade, in which Boomers became yuppies, and the young struggled through weak but expensive college programs only to fight for jobs meant for high-school graduates. However, he still maintains hope that today's young adults somehow came through it all with a sense of pragmatism, self-reliance, and a can-do attitude that will help them prevail. Though exhausively researched, there is little original material here, save Holtz's attempt to coin yet another term for his age group: ""The Free Generation."" The Free have grown up in a world that offers more choices than ever before, though many are less than desirable; they are free of any defining event or experience; they are apt to be uninhibited or reckless; and they have at many points in their lives been considered ""extra"" or ""superfluous."" But this label is likely to cause more confusion than controversy. Lacking the clear political purpose or humorous tone of other recent books about this generation, like Revolution X or 13th Gen, Welcome to the Jungle falls flat.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1995
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: St. Martin's