Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I love the direction you're all taking this conversation, and you're bringing up many great points about what it means to be an adult. It seems like we're leaning toward a more inwardly-determined definition of adulthood, as opposed to one dependent on outward signs like financial independence or marriage?...
New User
debook
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-03-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

Perpetual adolescence appears to be more extended than when I was younger.  I am a product of the 60's.  With Viet Nam we tended to grow up much more quickly.  We married younger, had children younger and tended to accept responsibility earlier.  I think we gave our children a chance to enjoy adolescence longer.  I am not sure if this is a good or bad.  Somehow, most of us, no matter what age, tend to finally grow up and accept responsibility.
Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I agree with debook. I also grew up in the 60's and people seemed a lot more responsilble then. As generations move on, the children tend to get more and more spoiled and things are handed to them more readily than the generation before. Each generation tries to make their children not have to work as hard as they did. This tends to extend adolescence a little longer.

 

I blame a lot of the problem on the credit card system. The credit card companies extend so much credit to the college students while most of them have no type of employment. The parents tend to bail them out to try to help start their life debt free. But does that really teach them to be responsible. Never feeling the pinch of paying off those debts leads to a generation that never really learns the value of money. Hence we have young people buying houses and cars they cannot afford and expecting to be at the top of the job market right out of college with salaries to afford these luxuries. This is not the real world and I think a lot of young people get really disillusioned very quickly. Then again comes the bailing out from the parents with children having to come back home to live and start all over again. Empty nests are a thing of the past!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I agree that the generation of the 60's-70's seemed more responsible and yet when I think about it, wasn't that the time of Haight Ashbury and Woodstock, of flower children and the explosion of the drug scene, of the silent majority? 

Maybe we look back at our own generation through rose colored glasses.
For me, perpetual adolescence is the state of mind which allows you to always be young at heart no matter what your age is in numbers. I love the idea of it on that level.
However, if one applies the term to lifestyle, then I think it is the inability to accept responsibility for one's actions and behavior and the consequences that follow. I don't like it on that level.
I don't think it has anything to do with years lived.
twj

Inspired Contributor
mattzay
Posts: 65
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I disagree. I think that every change in life results in a period of adjustment. When I was in college, I spent most of my time studying and getting used to college life. I did have a work study job, but without my parents help I would not have been able to get by. Then when I graduated, I substitute taught and held down part time jobs for awhile. I was still given some financial support by my parents by being able to live with them while I worked towards a more permanent teaching position. I do not think that made me immature. It was simply reality. When I finally got a permanent position, I moved out and became financially independent.

Inspired Contributor
mattzay
Posts: 65
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

As a woman in her 30s. I know that for myself and many of my friends, our decision to marry later was not because we wanted to "enjoy adolescence longer" but because we wanted to be financially stable enough to be married. I did not get my full time job until I was 26. I married right before it and my husband was 30. He had 2 other full-time jobs before then, but was laid off from one and left the other one for a better job. He waited to propose until he felt confident that he could help support us.

 

 

Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence


thewanderingjew wrote:

I agree that the generation of the 60's-70's seemed more responsible and yet when I think about it, wasn't that the time of Haight Ashbury and Woodstock, of flower children and the explosion of the drug scene, of the silent majority? 

Maybe we look back at our own generation through rose colored glasses.
For me, perpetual adolescence is the state of mind which allows you to always be young at heart no matter what your age is in numbers. I love the idea of it on that level.
However, if one applies the term to lifestyle, then I think it is the inability to accept responsibility for one's actions and behavior and the consequences that follow. I don't like it on that level.
I don't think it has anything to do with years lived.
twj


 

Absolutely twj!

 

It strikes me that adulthood has something to do with compromising one's ideals to meet the demands of reality. Anyone agree or disagree? Ultimately, most of the characters do make such compromises -- Lil goes to work at the magazine, Emily gives up her Broadway dreams... What other characters make such compromises? What characters do not, and are they able to achieve success or maturity regardless?

Inspired Wordsmith
krb2g
Posts: 289
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence


KxBurns wrote:

biljounc63 wrote:
The group in general seems to have followed non-traditional career paths such as academia, acting, writing, and music whichI feel allows them to delay entry into adulthood. In general they are career paths that do not involve a strict "fixed" 9-5 workday 50 weeks out of the year. Or in my case 7-3:30. They seem to thrive on the starving artist lifsyle.

biljounc63, Tarri, absolutely -- the fact the characters choose careers that do not promise financial security reflects a refusal to acknowledge the economic responsibilities of adulthood and also reflects the safety net of their upper-middle class upbringings. But rather than allowing them to carry on blissfully unaware of the financial realities of life, it has the effect of making their lives less carefree and more difficult.

 

Do you think the characters undertake the more difficult path out of rebelliousness, or a true committment to their artistic ideals, or simple naivete? Do the financial struggles that characters like Emily and Lil face make them more or less adult than Sadie, or Dave's bandmate Curtis, or the Green-Golds? Are the latter characters simply play-acting by adopting the starving artist lifestyle?


I'm hesitant to use career choices so uniformly to distinguish between relative maturity. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a little sensitive about the topic because I'm in grad school and sick of hearing "when you get a real job" as if I don't work (work that refuses to stay within 9-5 boundaries) or have to pay rent etc.

 

While the career choices may contribute to the general sense of postponing adulthood (and as Karen notes quite aptly also contributes to the difficulty of their lives), the characters' actions, or lack thereof, convince me of their immaturity: Beth's "I can skip the first few weeks of the semester with only minor reprecussions" self-delusions, Tuck's (and then Lil's) decision to move from grad school to the next hot thing, Emily's self-removal from the job market while she waits for her play to make the jump to Broadway. 

 

For me, the characters who seem the most mature are the ones who are able to see beyond themselves by the end of the novel. I'm not sure Caitlin Green-Gold (fascinating though she is) ever gets there, or Curtis (who allows Amy to manipulate him); on the other hand, Emily, Beth (I suppose--she seemed to drop out at the end of the novel) and Sadie all move beyond navel-gazing and take both responsibility for themselves and enter (reasonably) functional relationships with other people.

 


Jon_B wrote:

I have a question for those of you who seem to draw a thick line between academia and "the real world", the world of adults:

 

How far does this go?  Do people who go straight from undergrad to a PhD program and then straight into professional acedemia - maybe starting as an assistant professor or something and then becoming a tenured professor, never truly become adults?  Are academic professionals not "mature" or "adult" regardless of their age?  Why not?

 


Pandy914 wrote:

 

Jon_B, I think that professional academics are one thing as far as adulthood is concerned, but there are some people who are "perpetual students";  they're always going to school for something, always starting new projects, but when it actually comes to putting their knowledge to use, it never happens.  Take Tuck's character, for example;  he was great at school, but lazy and ineffectual in the workplace and his personal relationships.

 



I agree with Pandy914's identification of perpetual students, but I want to heartily protest the idea that academia is something other than or an escape from the real world (whatever that phrase even means)--in the novel, the characters who pursue higher degrees don't escape financial and social pressures (consider, for example, the strain that Lil's role as an academic places on her marriage to Tuck: he expects her to be a full-time housewife and seems to discount the work she has to do (like the never-ending grading)--even though he has been a grad student himself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

To me it seems like a normal growth experience...School has defined them,but now here  they are experimenting,learning..I do believe the ones that will break the Mold will be Lil ,Beth...living where they do opens up a whole world for them..Also the degree I hold has nothing to do with what I do at this time in my life.so why not find themselves, they are young,and sometimes not entering the world with their eyes wide open..To the reader that believe that parents should just sat no,we won't help you....If I can I will help WITH NO STRINGS... I live around scholars who have dropped out of the traditional world,have friends like myself who have done similar things...This generation,I believe has gone through just as much as my generation. My Daughter is 100% more mature than me..she is more focused,but would like to travel more..she graduated last year with a degree in Architectual Design andis  working.now,but if she wants to be a waitress for a while,well ok..The Characters are so endearing to me...Sadie is  more Traditional on the outside..but she will expand her horizon...I like the Brunch  Sunday thing..brings back Memories.So now you all know...I am the Edgy Mom,Thanks....VtCozy...I believe this book will open up many readers minds,I hope..lets just let Tuck be Tuck...Lil will see what he is....

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Distinguished Correspondent
biljounc63
Posts: 189
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence


Jennd1 wrote:
I think all of us are still children or childish in our own ways not even bad ways, but you see the grandparent that plays right along with the kids at the playground without being selfconsicous for example.  I think being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions and the outcomes good and bad that result.  I think getting to that point in your life is a gradual process and it happens at it's own pace which is different for everyone.  Some people get further along this path in college than others and for some entering the workforce is a "wakeup call".  I think each of us is a kid at heart in our own way.

I don't have kids of my own but was a kid playing around with my nephews in fact I'm sure that they thought that I was just a big kid even though there are 33 years between us.  There is a difference in playing with kids without being self consicous and taking responsibility for your own life being able to make it on your own with out help from mom and dad. 

There seem to be alot of houses that have replaced the tradtional front door with a revolving one as adult kids return home again and again whenever things don't work out, each time more and more baggage is brought back with them and I'm not talking about physical baggage.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison ~

"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I think what interests me the most is the lack of direction so many of these characters have shown (so far).   They live in dives, with furniture they picked up off the curb (do people really do this?).  Dave is so jealous of everyone's success or imagined success, that it is almost laughable.   They came home from college and didn't seem to be at all concerned about their futures.  

 

Is this normal of the college graduates of the late 90s?  

Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence


kiakar wrote:

Hey Sam608;  Don't you feel this is just a human flaw we all have and it will emerge from us at anytime. I am 65 and I can still act two if I get upset enought. that is, until I realize how old I really am. :smileyvery-happy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


sam608 wrote:
I'm 53, raised 5 kids and have 3 grandkids and I still have times of perpectual adolescences.  All it takes is for me and my girlfriends to get together for lunch or a movie or even just working on our crafts and we start acting like a bunch of teenagers. I also find myself still wanting to do or think the exact opposite of anything my dad saids (mom died 5 yrs ago) even if I actually agree with him.  For some reason, it bugs me for him to be right.  Now, thats pathetic isn't it?  So yes, I think we all have a state of perpectual adolescence.  Maybe it keeps us young.

 


I think the difference is that when these adolescence states burst out of us periodically at an older age we know what we're doing and that it's just a phase.  With people like the characters in the book it's not a phase, it's a lifestyle of perpetual adolesence.

Correspondent
m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Perpetual Adolescence

I thought that the path they took was much more reminiscent of women 40+ years ago than women in the past 20-25 years.  College, graduation and marriage - nothing unique about that.  Each of the women marries a guy so that they can be taken care of - not a very modern perspective of women.

 

As for perpetual adolescence - I like the term....  I think one thing that perhaps is more unique about this generation than those before it - the ability to and acceptance of their parents to support them well into their 20s - therefore pushing out the time it takes to 'grow up' and live a sustainable life on their own.  Self sufficiency is one of the characteristics of an adult.  Are any of these characters really adults?  I'm not sure - maybe Tal - but then we never hear from him so I can't be sure.

Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
1
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 540 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: