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

Sally Koslow

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Book Description

June 19 2012

A witty and insightful report from the parenting trenches by the mother of two "adultescents"

Millions of American parents sit down to dinner every night, wondering why fully grown children are joining them—or, more likely, grunting good-bye as they head out for another night of who knows what. Sally Koslow, a journalist, novelist, and mother of two "adultescents" digs deep to reveal what lies behind the current generation’s unwillingness—or inability—to take flight.

By delving into the latest research and conducting probing interviews with both frustrated parents and their frustrated offspring, Koslow uses humor, insight, and honest self-reflection to give voice to the issues of prolonged dependency. From the adultescent’s relationship to work (or no work), money (that convenient parental ATM), or social life, Slouching Toward Adulthood is a provocative, razor-sharp, but heartfelt cri de coeur for all the parents who sent their kids to college only to have them ricochet home with a diploma in one hand and the DVR remote in the other.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 19 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023622
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 14.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 748 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“Excellent…. At last, a serious, well-researched book about raising children which also includes that crucial characteristic every parent needs—a sense of humor.” —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

“An eye-opener…. Koslow writes wittily about the infantilization of American youth as increasing numbers treat getting a job and moving out as just an option.” —People

“Smart, with plenty of insights and a lively prose style that should keep readers, especially the book's target audience of parents wondering why their grown-up kids are back living in their basements, engaged.” —Booklist

“Koslow casts a keen eye on the 'not-so-empty-nest' phenomenon that besets today's baby boomer parents . . . and provides plenty of food for thought for parents and adultescents who want to understand each other and perhaps change things for the better.” —Publishers Weekly

“This book is hilarious! I burst out laughing on page one, and it just got funnier and funnier. But Slouching Toward Adulthood is also hard-hitting and painfully insightful—I found myself wincing with recognition. Backed by the latest research, Sally Koslow's thought-provoking new book should be required reading for today's parents and young adults.” —Amy Chua, professor of law at Yale University and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

“Full of research, insight, and hilarious examples of what life is like for the long-suffering parents of 'adultescents,' Slouching Toward Adulthood is one of those invaluable books that identifies and illuminates a new phenomenon in our culture.” —Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“Sally Koslow has really hit on something with her incisive Slouching Toward Adulthood. Memorable books that struck a chord about the path of life or the dissonance between parent and child—Gail Sheehy's Passages, Nancy Friday's My Mother/My Self—all had a kind of kitchen-table humanity and an ability to limn the unnamed conflicts of a particular moment. Beneath its jaunty two-drinks-with-your-coolest-friend ebullience, this book, as of its moment as those books were of theirs, has that resonance, too.” —Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us

Let go, Sally Koslow exhorts indulgent parents who lovingly enable their adultescents to postpone the rigors and responsibilities of being a grown-up. Koslow's wit and wisdom wake us up to the hidden costs of hanging on too long to our kids, to our youth, and to the past. A great read!” —Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted

“In her trenchant book on twenty-first-century life with our adult children, Sally Koslow offers us wit, awareness, and, most important, a sense that we are not alone. From the first pages, the reader feels right at home, comforted by Koslow's confessions, research, and wisdom.” —Susan Shapiro Barash, author of You’re Grounded Forever . . . But First Let’s Go Shopping

“Sally Koslow has written a funny, shrewd, and true account of a problem the boomer generation didn't know it had created: the consequences of helicopter parenting. We've pampered our kids so much they don't want to grow up. Who can blame them? Slouching Toward Adulthood is the book that explains why 'the guest bedroom' is a thing of the past.” —James Atlas, author of My Life in the Middle Ages 

About the Author

Sally Koslow is a journalist, and an author, and the former editor in chief of both McCall’s and Lifetime. She has written for O, The Oprah Magazine; More; Real Simple; Ladies Home Journal; Good Housekeeping; Reader’s Digest; and Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband; her kids have finally moved out.


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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baby Boomer Parent, Here is Your Story June 14 2012
By Betsy Platkin Teutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Slouching Towards Adulthood gives voice to all the changes in the last generation - social, economic, technological, cultural. We who eagerly flew from the nest and took on independence as a matter of pride are micro-engaged in our young adult children's lives in a myriad of ways. Good or bad? That is the underlying question of Koslow's very witty, insightful book. She sneaks in a lot of factual information, showing how widespread many of these new behaviors are, indeed they have become norms.
Renting a UHaul to help move your kid, say, once a year. If UHauls are not feasible, than hopping on a plane & criss-crossing the country to help your child, likely one with an advanced degree, set up a new apartment. Housing your kids at home. Vacationing in very nice places with your adult children, on your dime. Welcoming non-married boyfriend and girlfriend-in-laws into your family, even including them in the aforementioned vacation. These are all becoming norms.
The biggest surprises from STA are the massive numbers of parents and children experiencing this extended mutual dependence, middle class as well as more affluent, in all regions of the country. And also the cocktail scene. I had no idea about it, and how big a part of 18-35's social life revolves around liquor.
Koslow is endearingly non-judgmental, since she shares these behaviors with the rest of us. Your daughter is traveling around the world working at yoga retreats, after finishing an Ivy League degree? Great! Your son is living at home and you are waiting on him hand and foot? So are a lot of other moms. Your child quit a job he didn't like with out another one lined up? Welcome to the club!
I agree with her conclusions, but will not give them away.
This is not only a great book for baby boomer parents, but a wonderful text for those older than that - it really explains, in extremely fun-to-read prose, what the hell is going on in our country!
After reading this book I was spouting anecdotes and statistics for weeks. Don't be surprised if this book really changes the way you look at the world.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slouching Toward Adulthood is a new classic June 14 2012
By MaryDell Harrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sally Koslow has written a classic book for our times! She brings extensive research to help us all understand why so many young adults struggle with independence -an immensely important topic. With great originality and wit, Sally writes from the perspective of both a mom of two young adults and an experienced journalist. Providing extensive statistical and real time examples, Sally brings new insight to the topic and, in closing, offers heartfelt advice that may alter the way we approach helping our kids in the future.

A great read for parents and young adults, too.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Observations but Not Much Else July 20 2012
By BemisReviewsBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Sally Koslow, editor and journalist, has penned her observations on the population of young adults ages 22-35 and hones in on exactly what is wrong with this generation in comparison to those before them. A hefty portion of the blame is aimed at their Baby Boomer parents of whom she is one. Coining the word "adulescents" to describe this still fairly young demographic, Koslow offers insights into why these pseudo-adults, the ones who were told over and over just how special they were growing up, who received a trophy just for showing up, and grew to believe that the world really was their oyster and reaching for the stars would absolutely result in the ability to grab as many of them as they wanted, are now jobless, aimlessly wandering, and still living with Mom and Dad. Knowing that the safety net is still firmly in place, these adulescents can afford to drift from job to job, travel the world extensively solely for the experience, and reap the benefits of a rent free existence all while looking down their superior noses at their parents notions of how an adult should behave.

Culminating a number in depth interviews with both parents and offspring, Koslow interjects her brand of supposed humor to all aspects of this so called phenomenon of 28 being the new 19. In the end, she points out that adulescents are not entirely to blame for their position. It is not as simple as that worn out phrase "you know kids today". A number of crucial variables have resulted in the new normal of a 30 year old still living at home, not planning on leaving anytime soon. These factors include the tanking economy, graduating four or five years ago with a degree that is now considered obsolete, the inability to break into a career, one that actually affords independence, the advancement of technology and its social ramifications, and Boomer parents who have been unable or unwilling to cut the cord. Koslow's solution to the latter, a rallying cry to Boomers "If you step back, they'll be able to step forward", at this stage, easier said than done, I think.

Koslow appears to be trying much too hard to be funny and a result, isn't at all. She seems to write the way she thinks, not always a good thing. Not every author translates well that way and she is no exception. Her favorite word which appears quite a few times over in the book is "quotidian", which perhaps in line with its meaning is to her just a simple, everyday word to be thrown around as easily as the words "the" or "but". She was smart to put the word "observations" in the title because if you are looking for actual solutions to similar issues, you won't find them here. I was also dismayed that she offered barely a mention of older Generation Xers, those adults younger than Boomers born between 1965 and 1975 who are experiencing much of the same obstacles cited for adulescents such as the inability to find jobs, and age discrimination but with far more dire consequences because they are also shouldering the burden of raising children, paying mortgages, and caring for elderly parents. They are the real heroes because they are suffering the effects of age and an overly competitive and lacking job market often with no safety net intact.

In the end, Koslow provides us with an interesting look at today's culture, the result of a particular brand of parenting, and the possibility of greater clarity into what we need to change moving forward.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for everyone involved with kids June 24 2012
By Ronnie Igel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the other reviews attest, Sally Koslow has captured through research, humor, and astute first hand understanding, the plight of the "adultescents" she so aptly names. I hope that this book will be read by said adultescents and not just their flummoxed parents. My mother used an expression that I hated as a child and now come to appreciate despite it's prehistoric origins - "This is not a one-way street." Koslow points out that we baby boomers reacted to our own upbringing by perhaps swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. She makes the reader wonder if we gave too much and asked for too little. Her book objectively assesses the resulting effects of extreme helicopter parenting on Gen Y. As a teacher of very young children, I especially recommend this book to new parents in the hope that they view it as somewhat of a cautionary tale. Koslow acknowledges that boomers for the most part, were motivated by the best intentions while unintentionally not preparing their children for the realities of life. In my own classroom for the past few years, I have been impressed by the independence of the four year olds I teach. Their parents are not so into the helicopter thing. They are caring and nurturing but they are also unapologetically busy (dual career families now being a given) so they set priorities and have reasonable expectations for even very young children. And here's the really good part - the kids are all right! I urge GenY, their parents, and educators to read this thought provoking book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, helpful -- and entertaining June 15 2012
By Stephen M. Silverman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Placed under Sally Koslow's finely tuned microscope, adultescents are scrutinized in captvating anecdotal detail, as are the factors that contribute to their behavior. The book's abiding grace is its sense of humor. In fact, this is one good read that provides comfort on many levels.

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