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Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers Paperback – August 31, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I applaud Linda Perlstein's efforts to capture the essence of middle school kids and to represent the trials and tribulations of this age. In her study, Perlstein spent a year's time becoming a part of a real middle school. Rather than study these kids from an academic perspective, Perlstein took a much more holistic and anthropological approach. She talked to the kids, she watched the kids, she spoke to their parents, and she observed their relational interactions and their highs and lows and she spent a lot of time with their teachers.
The result of Linda Perlstein's efforts is a significant book for educators, parents and kids on the struggles of middle school years. While some might attack this as a study less scientific or quantitative than rigorous academics might prefer, I believe that she is right on the mark in reporting on these kids through her experience of them. This is a tough age and my belief is that it grows even more stressful on kids as our society continues to change and as kids mature faster on a physical level.
I believe this is a book that should be read by a number of different groups and that it could be a foundation for some wonderful discussions among teachers and between teachers and parents.
An understudied subject most interestingly presented. Highly Recommended.
Daniel J. Maloney
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA
Often she makes recommendations for parents or teachers to follow without citing any reference (other than, presumably, the comments of these admittedly self-centered tweeners). And her style of narrative can be confusing -- characters are brought into the story with little or no introduction, only to disappear and never return.
Having said all that, I still am glad I read the book. I feel I gleaned a few insights (and of course am comforted to know I'm not the only parent wondering where my wonderful child went). However, if you are looking for a more thoroughly researched book with clear suggestions for middle school parents and teachers, I highly recommend "Our Last Best Shot" by Laura Sessions Stepp. She takes a similar approach but, for my money, gets right to the heart of the matter while Perlstein floats on the surface.
Linda Perlstein narrates the emotional rollercoaster rides of five "tweens" over one academic year in a suburban middle school in MD. She insightfully captures their dialogue, their mood swings, and their daily dramas. Parents about to experience their first "tween" and students in the field of education who are interested in teaching this age group will be benefit from reading this book.
I taught middle schoolers for nine of my 24 years in public school education and I remember clearly their emotional responses: "I didn't do anything!" "Why are you picking on me?" I was always surprised to learn, "I didn't like her yesterday, but today she's my best friend." Chaperoning dances was a learning experience about sexual development. The sixth graders were still separated by sex with boys leaning nervously against one wall and girls huddled on the other wall; the seventh graders chased and hit each other; and, the eighth graders melted together.
I found this book to be both enjoyable and enlightening. There were moments when I laughed out loud and moments when I empathized. Woven into the narrative about the students, Ms. Perlstein includes some pearls of wisdom from parents, educators, and medical professionals for working with "tweens." This is a time of tremendous change and many challenges for students. Hopefully, they will enjoy some of the moments on their rollercoaster rides between childhood and adulthood. And, adults involved with this age group are wise to remember, this too shall pass.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've just read the intro and first chapter. Already I have highlighted about 5 passages that exactly fit my 13 year old 7th grader. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tamiko Kemp
I enjoyed how the book seemed like it was part novel, part documentary. VERY insightful to students in middle school.Published on January 15, 2014 by Catherine Burris
I read other reviews here and am struck somewhat by their petty criticisms. Some complain that the book was based on the author's observations in an upper middle-class setting. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Brian A. Foster
My daughter just finished middle school. I recognized so much of her behavior and our drama in these pages. It would have been nice to know we are actually normal. Read morePublished on July 21, 2013 by Denice Williams
As a middle school teacher, I picked up this book to learn a little more about the "secret lives" of the average middle schooler. Read morePublished on October 14, 2011 by LewisHenry
This book is not beneficial to any teacher who teaches school in the USA. This book just makes middle schools who are not raised as Jewish appear as if they struggle, meanwhile... Read morePublished on May 24, 2011 by pnutbutternation
Probably the highlight of Perlstein's work is her ability to depict middle school students on their own terms-- this could not have been an easy feat for her or for the students... Read morePublished on July 3, 2010 by Amy
I was excited to pick up this book and get to reading. Shortly into it, I found I had trouble keeping track of who was who and was frustrated by the structure of the book. Read morePublished on March 5, 2010 by J. Merlavage