cover image The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

John Green. Dutton, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-55521-6

YA novelist Green (Turtles All the Way Down) makes his adult debut with this perfectly calibrated collection that reviews and rates various aspects of the current epoch. Taking on the style of a Yelp review, Green assigns a five-star rating to each topic he covers. “Our Capacity for Wonder,” for example, gets three and a half stars (due to humans’ general lack of attentiveness), while Diet Dr. Pepper gets four—Green loves the drink, but finds consuming it feels like “committing a sin.” His review of the video game Mario Kart gives way to a discussion of privilege and a consideration of the role videos games played in the male friendships of his youth: “We didn’t need to talk about Mario Kart, but we needed Mario Kart to have an excuse to be together,” while CNN gets two stars for its failure to report “background information that allows us to understand why the news is happening.” Each short review is rich with meaning and filled with surprises—”Sunsets,” for example, draws on several poems to ask “what should we do about the clichéd beauty” of a setting sun— and together, they amount to a resonant paean to hard-won hope. Green’s legions of fans will be delighted. (May)