Saturday, September 21, 2019


I am offered a lot of books to review, and occasionally I accept. If you've been baffled by adolescent behavior--your pupils, your kids, your grandchildren, or even your own if you can remember that far back, this is the book that explains it, and why it's probably necessary. "Wildhood; the epic journey from adolescence to adulthood in humans and other animals," by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers (Scribner, 2019). I'm assuming that Barbara is the scientist and Kathryn the word magician, because it's both very learned, and easy to read.

Using the lives of four animals, Ursula the penguin, Shrink the hyena, Salt a humpback whale, and Slavc a wolf (plus dozens of examples of other animal species--salmon, bats, gazelles, seals, etc.) they provide a look at everything you see in teenagers from status, to anxiety, to bullying, to risk taking, to privilege to sexual coercion. Is your son living in your basement? If animal parents were that protective, the species wouldn't survive. 

"Animals will suffer pain, forgo food, give up sex, and betray others just to ensure they've not left out or driven from a group. You might say that for social animals, status is like gravity. It's powerful and inescapable. It's invisible. It exerts an omnipresent force, and it molds how a creature moves through the world and behaves around others." p. 97

Now, doesn't that sound just like junior high school?

Me in 1954, band uniform

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