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Twentysomething
Cover of Twentysomething
Twentysomething
Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?
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What does it mean to be young today?

In the summer of 2010, Robin Marantz Henig wrote a provocative article for the New York Times Magazine called "What Is It About 20-somethings?" It generated enormous reader response and started a conversation that included both millennials and baby boomers. Now, working with her millennial daughter Samantha, she expands the project to give us a full portrait of what it means to be in your twenties today.

Looking through many lenses, the Henigs ask whether emerging adulthood has truly become a new rite of passage. They examine the latest neuroscience and psychological research, the financial pressures young people now face, changing cultural expectations, the aftereffects of helicopter parenting, and the changes that have arisen from social media and all things Internet. Most important, they have surveyed more than 120 millennials and baby boomers to give voice to both viewpoints of a conversation that is usually one-sided.

What does it mean to be young today?

In the summer of 2010, Robin Marantz Henig wrote a provocative article for the New York Times Magazine called "What Is It About 20-somethings?" It generated enormous reader response and started a conversation that included both millennials and baby boomers. Now, working with her millennial daughter Samantha, she expands the project to give us a full portrait of what it means to be in your twenties today.

Looking through many lenses, the Henigs ask whether emerging adulthood has truly become a new rite of passage. They examine the latest neuroscience and psychological research, the financial pressures young people now face, changing cultural expectations, the aftereffects of helicopter parenting, and the changes that have arisen from social media and all things Internet. Most important, they have surveyed more than 120 millennials and baby boomers to give voice to both viewpoints of a conversation that is usually one-sided.

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About the Author-
  • Robin Marantz Henig is an acclaimed science journalist, the author of eight books, and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. In 2010 she received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as a Guggenheim Foundation grant.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Mature-sounding Pam Ward and 20-something Emily Durante were astute choices to read this thoughtful study by an excellent science writer and her daughter. Ward's precise enunciation and assertive phrasing are a good fit for the research findings, which show that young people today live in a vastly different world from the one their parents lived in. Ward handles the storytelling and dramatic bits with a bit of awkwardness, but the foil provided by the lithe and innocent-sounding Durante balances the production and makes it satisfying to hear. Though the authors don't provide parenting or policy suggestions, their intelligent overview tells us a lot about the slow-to-launch millennials we all know. Their compassionate writing takes the judgment out of watching these young people slowly find their places in life. T.W. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 9, 2012
    After New York Times Magazine writer Henig penned a piece on 20-somethings that went “viral,” she teamed up with her 27-year-old daughter, Samantha (NYT Magazine online news editor), to explore the topic in greater depth. The mother-daughter duo covers schooling, career choices, love and marriage, having babies, moving away from home, and other milestones, concluding that many of these issues are now delayed by at least five years. The authors base their findings on an admittedly nonscientific sampling of 127 respondents who answered their questionnaire as well as on current scientific research, and wrap up each chapter with a final judgment on whether the issue is either the “Same as It Ever Was” (as in friendship and marriage) or “Now is New” (as in schooling and childbearing). Many of their conclusions resonate with the work of psychologist Jeffrey Arnett, who has argued that there is a new developmental stage called “emerging adulthood,” characterized by identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between, and seeing a sense of possibilities. While Boomers and “Millennials” have much in common, clearly this generation of 20-somethings confronts some unprecedented difficulties and changes, including escalating college costs and debt, the option to use reproductive technology for later childbearing, and the belief that access to the Internet is a fundamental human need, right up there with air and water. With humor and insight, the authors deftly volley commentary and observation across the generation gap.

  • Publishers Weekly "With humor and insight, the authors deftly volley commentary and observation across the generation gap."
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Twentysomething
Twentysomething
Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?
Robin Marantz Henig
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