Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Scribner, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-50116-469-9
Human teens have much in common with their counterparts throughout the animal kingdom—and those commonalities are eye-opening as described in the latest from biologist Natterson-Horowitz and science journalist Bowers (coauthors of Zoobiquity). They reveal how a wide variety of species, fruit flies and pumas alike, must negotiate four competencies while entering adulthood: safety, socialization, sex, and self-reliance. Readers follow Ursula, a king penguin; Shrink, a hyena; Salt, a humpback whale; and Slavc, a wolf, as they deal with sex, friendship, and parents. Cultural references pepper the narrative (Katniss Everdeen is used as an example of youthful survival skills) and lighten the mood (while “ABBA and the Bee Gees were on the Billboard Hot 100..., a young whale found her first love”). Harsh reality also plays a role: as with humans, the teens of other species can and do put themselves in peril (a biologist relates a rite of passage among California sea otters, of entering the great white–inhabited “triangle of death” off the coast). But this work is ultimately reassuring—as in its message that “the joys, the tragedies, [and] the passions” of adolescence are not senseless, but “make exquisite evolutionary sense”—and should appeal to anyone who’s ever raised an adolescent, human or otherwise. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/26/2019
Release date: 09/17/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9735-2
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