29 October 2008

Book Review: Quarterlife Crisis

I originally became interested in "Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties" by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner when I discovered it after adding another book to my wishlist on Amazon. When I found the book at a thrift shop for a fraction of the retail price I decided to give it a read.

From the first page, I felt the book was dated. Published in 2001, many of the interviewees had graduated from college in the mid- to late nineties in a pre-9/11 society. A warless America still had jobs and was not facing financial distress. Still, many of the symptoms of quarterlife crisis (frozen by indecision, catch 22 of job experience, feelings of doubt, confusion and helplessness, etc.) were familiar and struck a chord.

Though "Quarterlife Crisis" introduces the theory of twenty-somethings's emotional turmoil, the book lacks a certain depth. I found myself fighting the urge to flip through the pages to find the meat of the book. The book's simplistic format ("Bob of Any College says '...'") is repetitive. The author's main goal seems to force the 'new' phenomenon into public attention on the level of mid-life crisis. 

I wanted to know more about the theory, but the authors tried to let the interviewees offer solutions for them, leaving the book feeling unsupported. The majority of the interviewees had or were in the middle of pursuing a degree. This made the book feel incomplete because only a portion of twenty-somethings go to college right away, if at all. Although I do not fit in this category, I am inclined to believe those who have not gone to college still experience a form of 'quarterlife crisis.'

Although the book is dated, I believe twenty-somethings should find this an adequate introduction to the theory. It does identify some symptoms of the crisis and may help the reader feel like he or she is not alone. But I'd get the book from the library--once you've read the book you probably will not have to read it again.


  1. I should have read this AFTER the book! It doesn't sound like it's very useful.

  2. You should read the book just so you have complaining rights. ;)