Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest

Sally Koslow, Author
Sally Koslow. Viking, $25.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-670-02362-2
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Novelist and former McCall’s magazine editor Koslow casts a keen eye on the “not-so-empty-nest” phenomenon that besets today’s baby boomer parents. She calls their children “adultescents,” these 22- to 35-year-old “well-educated Americans postponing full maturity and its attendant responsibilities” who return home from college for financial and other forms of support, from laundry to career advice. Koslow shares myriad anecdotes (including ones about her own sons) gleaned from her year’s worth of interviews and research. She is not unsympathetic, acknowledging that indulgent parenting (“we’ve spoiled kids to an unprecedented degree in human history”) feeds the younger set’s frustratingly laid-back attitude, and a depressed economy and slow job market don’t help, either. She notes that subsidizing the kids hurts parents’ own plans for retirement, travel, or just privacy, and expresses frustration with adultescents who don’t see the need for a goal-oriented approach to life. One off-note: the chapter on the risks of delaying pregnancy, which focuses solely on women (don’t men want kids and need to be informed planners, too?). Overall, though, Koslow provides plenty of food for thought for parents and adultescents who want to understand each other and perhaps change things for the better. (June)
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