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Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up Paperback – April 24, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to journalist Noxon, rejuveniles-adults who use childhood past-times as "a way of maintaining wonder, trust, and silliness in a world where these qualities are often in short supply"-are proliferating, and unlike other books on the topic of "kidults" (aka "twixters," "boomerangers," and "generation debt"), his book says this is largely good. Viewing the bright side of oft-bemoaned evidence showing increasing numbers of young adults living with parents and postponing marriage, Noxon has made an entertaining but incomplete read. In appropriately playful prose, he considers successful adults who play in rock n' roll nursery rhyme cover bands, attend Disney World without kids, and happily plunk down 10 bucks to see Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie. Avoiding "The Downside of Now" until the end, Noxon almost admits that he isn't telling the whole story of the rejuveniles: although it's "nice to think of rejuveniles as freethinking romantics," which he theretofore does, "it's clear that outside forces also have a hand in shaping who rejuveniles are." Those outside forces? Not crushing student loans, a stagnant job market or political age-bias, but "the media." Of course, Noxon would probably just as soon leave worrying to grown-ups of the old school-he'll be on the kickball field instead.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“I read Rejuvenile excitedly, eager to get to Noxon’s conclusions, feeling over and over that he was describing something I sensed was there but hadn’t quite put into words. An eye-opener.” —Ira Glass, host of public radio’s This American Life

“Geezers wearing blue jeans and watching cartoons and playing videogames is not precisely what Bob Dylan had in mind (‘May you stay forever young’) back in the countercultural day. But as Christopher Noxon smartly and definitively explains, never-ending youthfulness—that is, the mass refusal to swear off fun and comfort for the sake of grown-up propriety—is the enduring legacy of the Woodstock generation.” —Kurt Andersen, host of public radio’s Studio 360 and author of Turn of the Century

Rejuvenile is better than any book out there about play. It sweeps together stories of real people being true to their core selves. This is not a book for escapists; it is a book for curious open explorers looking to lead more effective, flexible, adaptive, vital, and still responsible lives.” —Stuart L. Brown, M.D., founder and president, the Institute for Play

“Any book that inspires me to rediscover Four Square and Duck Duck Goose is A-OK with me. Rejuvenile made me want to play and it made me think—a stellar combination. Thank you, Christopher, for giving us a concept we actually need: a new, liberating redefinition of adulthood, where you can be a responsible grown-up and still maintain a sense of wonder.” —Sasha Cagen, author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics

“With Rejuvenile, Christopher Noxon brilliantly charts the continual turning of the Boomers, X’ers and Y’ers away from the brittle authority of work-obsessed adulthood. We seriously need more playful times, and Rejuvenile will help us get there.” —Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic: A Manifesto for a Different Way of Living

“Christopher Noxon has the same affection for the ingenuous adults he describes as they do for their Ninja Turtles, skateboards, and Lego blocks. Noxon is an avid collector in his own right—one of compelling characters, funny stories, and insights that speak to our mixed-up times.” —Ethan Watters, former Chuck E. Cheese Rat and author of Urban Tribes: Are Friends the New Family?

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400080894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400080892
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Noxon has worked as a costumed character at Universal Studios, a speechwriter for Michael Milken, and a music supervisor for the televsion series "Weeds." He's also written for the New York Times Magazine, Salon, and GQ. He lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jason Kotecki on October 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read this book over the course of several flights while traveling and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a cartoonist who likes cupcakes and wearing superhero t-shirts, there should be no surprise why the book peaked my interest. But I was delighted to find that the book was neither an unstructured permission slip for irresponsible behavior, nor a "Harrumphing Codger" treatise on abolishing all forms of fun from life. Rather, it was a well-organized, even-handed, thoughtful and interesting approach on the phenomenon itself. I enjoyed the historical research, and although sometimes overly thourough, offered a lot of interesting background for the rest of the book. I also enjoyed the profiles of the people throughout the book. At times I found myself mentally cheering them on, while with others, I tended to react to with frustration (and sometimes even disgust). So ultimately, the book connected with me on an emotional level, and it made me think. Something all good books do.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JLP on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I purchased my new Nikon D2X, a pro level camera, I couldn't wait to get it home and try it out. I went to Central Park even though the weather conditions were crappy for photography. That level of pleasure and enjoyment was the same if not greater than getting that new set of legos when I was ten for my birthday. I'm a rejuvenile. If you've watched the cartoon network with or without children present and enjoyed it then you are one too. Christopher Noxon documents a trend in adults that is much wider spread than you might think. In delightfully well written prose, Noxon documents the various types of rejuvenile and their various activities. You have adults who participate in kickball (the author is one of them and met his wife through that activity), still watch cartoons, collect and . . . yes . . . even play with action figures, read comic books or graphic novels and other such activities shared by ten year olds. Then there are the 32 year old children who move back with their parents, women who diligently collect the very pricey Madame Alexander dolls and other perhaps less obvious examples of rejuvenilia. Noxon ponders on the both the positive and negative aspects of this sociological trend. Clearly he believes it is overall positive and lambasts the critics. There is obviously a spectrum of rejuvenileness and the more extreme certainly gave me reason to pause (the adults playing with action figures and even more outré examples.) It seems to be impacting all levels of society - how adults raise and relate to their children, how those children are maturing and the various industries fed by these trends thus it isn't all fun and games. The book is a very interesting read that I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Granny6 on August 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rejuvenile is my new favorite book--smart, funny, wonderfully written. Noxon's forte is finding amazingly quirky people who illustrate his thesis and describing them in delicious detail. The last section, "Into a Rejuvenile Future," ties it all together. "[W]e rejuveniles are attempting to hang on to the part of ourselves that feels most genuinely human," Noxon writes, and we can't help but celebrate our own inner senses of wonder and curiosity and the delightful and thought provoking journey this writer takes us on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bernie DeKoven on August 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The image of childlike adults, enraptured by a game of tag, is at once compelling and disturbing. Disturbing, because it suggests that something central to our understanding of what it means to be grown-up has changed. Compelling for the very same reason. Are adults becoming more juvenile? Or is the institution of adulthood itself being rejuvenated? In coming up with the term "Rejuvenile," Noxon captures a fundamental ambiguity that has long characterized the "adult" approach to play. By clearly and entertainingly documenting the variety of ways in which adults are commiting themselves to play, he offers up the hope that some of us, at least, will be able to create a new understanding of maturity: more functional, and definitely more fun.
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Format: Paperback
"Rejeuvenile" was a fun read. I'm primarily interested in understanding the niche markets pop culture creates. My reason is because I want to better understand what people want in order to sell it to them. Your interests may be different. Even if my interests were purely for entertainment this would still be a fun read because it's well-written with energetic language and colorful characters. It's not a novel and the only characters that are mentioned recurringly are the author and his wife, who don't come off as very colorful, but the parade of "are they nuts?" people is a bit of a freakshow.

This book doesn't even touch on rejeuvenile things within my own experience like going to dress-up events such Burning Man or Renaissance Faires. The fragmenting of today's culture into a million kaleidoscope prisms makes any sort of detailed survey of rejeuvenile culture impossible; it's simply growing and dividing too fast for anybody to track... and the growth is accelerating.

You can listen to an NPR feature where the author talks about the rejeuvenile phenomenon at [...] . One lady called in and was really pissed about rejeuveniles. I don't think she read the book. I think just hearing about the concept of adults that really enjoy video games and skateboarding and collecting toys and stuff like that really disturbed her. The author calls these people "Harrumphing Codgers" and I'm very thankful my own parents don't feel that way. I know a lot of adults I would classify as rejeuveniles and while their households seem like a sort of funny place to raise children, I see their kids growing up fine.

If anything, rejeuveniles reject the notion that when you grow up you have to progress to "adult" forms of play like golf and boating.
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