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TWENTYSOMETHING by Robin Marantz Henig


Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?

by Robin Marantz Henig ; Samantha Henig

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59463-096-5
Publisher: Hudson Street/Penguin

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.