30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Not much here, just disappointed,
This review is from: Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers (Hardcover)
I heartily applaud what the author set out to do, and (as the parent of a 6th grader) I couldn't wait to get my hands on her book. I have to say I was pretty disappointed overall. While the author chooses to focus on 5 middle schoolers, she devotes a disproportionate amount of time to the girls' relationships and problems; by the end of the book I felt I knew much less about the problems facing boys. Why, for instance, does she go into great detail about the bat mitzvah of Elizabeth, but only briefly refer to the wedding of Eric's dad -- an event with equally large impact in his life?
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.