THE YOUNG PRETENDERS by John Barron May

THE YOUNG PRETENDERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Someone observed that adolescence is a psychosocial moratorium: Edgar Z. Friedenberg, our leading explicator, says that ""adolescence is conflict."" May, a very reasoned British sociologist, takes a position somewhere between the two: adolescence is inherently a time which involves both stability and change, and in any case, patterns of mobility and rebellion are to a great extent qualified by social and cultural background. The Angry Young Man is not necessarily a Rebel Without a Cause (he may be -- in which case he is a beatnik); he may also be deeply committed. In any case, it is a transitional period and there is much more to it than meets the eye-- the conspicuous way in which the teenagers appear or behave. May reduces a great deal of material (from empirical studies to broader theoretical perspectives) into three parts: the coming of age or the way in which they come to terms with (a) society (work attitudes, goals, primarily) (b) with the self (the prominent sexual drive, spiritual malaise) (c) with life as a whole (which involves the acquisition of a set of values). His book, more than the closing chapter, involves use of both British and American exemplification so it will be just as valuable to parents, teachers, social workers here as in England. It is moral, without being moralistic, in tone, definite and enlightening.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1966
Publisher: Schocken