Sally Koslow, editor and journalist, has penned her observations on the population of young adults ages 22-35 and hones in on exactly what is wrong with this generation in comparison to those before them. A hefty portion of the blame is aimed at their Baby Boomer parents of whom she is one. Coining the word "adulescents" to describe this still fairly young demographic, Koslow offers insights into why these pseudo-adults, the ones who were told over and over just how special they were growing up, who received a trophy just for showing up, and grew to believe that the world really was their oyster and reaching for the stars would absolutely result in the ability to grab as many of them as they wanted, are now jobless, aimlessly wandering, and still living with Mom and Dad. Knowing that the safety net is still firmly in place, these adulescents can afford to drift from job to job, travel the world extensively solely for the experience, and reap the benefits of a rent free existence all while looking down their superior noses at their parents notions of how an adult should behave.
Culminating a number in depth interviews with both parents and offspring, Koslow interjects her brand of supposed humor to all aspects of this so called phenomenon of 28 being the new 19. In the end, she points out that adulescents are not entirely to blame for their position. It is not as simple as that worn out phrase "you know kids today". A number of crucial variables have resulted in the new normal of a 30 year old still living at home, not planning on leaving anytime soon. These factors include the tanking economy, graduating four or five years ago with a degree that is now considered obsolete, the inability to break into a career, one that actually affords independence, the advancement of technology and its social ramifications, and Boomer parents who have been unable or unwilling to cut the cord. Koslow's solution to the latter, a rallying cry to Boomers "If you step back, they'll be able to step forward", at this stage, easier said than done, I think.
Koslow appears to be trying much too hard to be funny and a result, isn't at all. She seems to write the way she thinks, not always a good thing. Not every author translates well that way and she is no exception. Her favorite word which appears quite a few times over in the book is "quotidian", which perhaps in line with its meaning is to her just a simple, everyday word to be thrown around as easily as the words "the" or "but". She was smart to put the word "observations" in the title because if you are looking for actual solutions to similar issues, you won't find them here. I was also dismayed that she offered barely a mention of older Generation Xers, those adults younger than Boomers born between 1965 and 1975 who are experiencing much of the same obstacles cited for adulescents such as the inability to find jobs, and age discrimination but with far more dire consequences because they are also shouldering the burden of raising children, paying mortgages, and caring for elderly parents. They are the real heroes because they are suffering the effects of age and an overly competitive and lacking job market often with no safety net intact.
In the end, Koslow provides us with an interesting look at today's culture, the result of a particular brand of parenting, and the possibility of greater clarity into what we need to change moving forward.