cover image Deep Secrets: Boys' Friendship and the Crisis of Connection

Deep Secrets: Boys' Friendship and the Crisis of Connection

Niobe Way. Harvard Univ., $24.95 (326p) ISBN 978-0-674-04664-1

Way's (Everyday Courage: The Lives and Stories of Urban Teenagers) new book offers a surprising glimpse into the hearts of American boys, revealing a group of lonely young men who crave acceptance and belonging and deeply miss the friendships of their childhood. "The very social and emotional capacities, needs and desires that are associated with being female and gay are not only the very same skills that are at the foundation...of our survival as individuals and as a species; they are also capacities, needs, and desires that boys themselves have..." In what must be one of the more compulsively readable Academic books on psychology in recent memory, Way recounts the hundreds of interviews her team conducted in American high schools. The voices present are heartbreakingly authentic in revealing a pattern, a gradual drift away from "emotionally intimate same-sex friendships" with other boys and toward a destructive stereotype of manliness that perpetuate the false notion that "boys are only interested in one thing." Way, a professor of Applied Psychology at NYU, and director of the Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology, clearly makes her case. (Mar.)