“Identity Theft”: I review (and LOVE) “The Goldfinch”

in the Weekly Standard: When we speak of “the permanent things,” we should mean the enduring, inescapable, and unfulfilled longings of the contradictory human heart: the helpless yearnings found across radically different times and cultures. And among these permanent desires, the need for home and the need for ecstasy stand preeminent.Donna Tartt made her name with 1992’s bestselling murder-by-paganism tale The Secret History, which explored our longing for ecstatic release from the self. Th … [Read more...]

Cracked vs. “Troubled Teen” Industry

Great piece: When I was 14, I lived with my grandparents in a wealthy gated community and went to a very prestigious private school. This was the first time I had access to the Internet on a daily basis, and it changed my life forever. I discovered metal music and culture, which inspired me to learn the guitar. My yearbook ambitions quickly went from "become a judge like my grandfather" to "become a rock star."This was not a popular change in Tori Jane, and before long my grandparents … [Read more...]

“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in AmSpec

now available in full: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? more--spoilerous for the middle of The Shining, but I like this article. For more on the point I'm trying to make at the end, see here. … [Read more...]

“Can Parents Accused of Neglect Redeem One Another?”

from Al-Jazeera America:...On the last Wednesday in July, Wick showed up at CWOP, a non-profit group located in an East Harlem housing project. She joined nine parents — eight moms and one dad, all accused of abuse or neglect — in a room lined with flyers and inspirational posters. They stood holding hands for an opening prayer. Among them were volunteers and paid staff of CWOP who had their own histories in the child welfare system but had reunited with their children. These parents, once di … [Read more...]

Working-Class Trust, Monetized Mug Shots, The Bible and Other Children’s Books

What I'm reading.First off, this post from David Lapp is relevant to my review of Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty: ...One of the striking things about Brown’s portrait is how poverty co-existed with family cohesiveness and the expectation of marriage. When these poor rural individuals and families migrated North during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, they brought with them their family cohesiveness. But while Elmer and Alice grew up poor, got married, and recently c … [Read more...]

“Broke and Alone”: I review Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty

at The American Conservative: Because most of the traditional pathways to adulthood—marriage, economic independence, stable job—seem out of reach or prove to be reversible, working-class young adults have developed a new definition of maturity. This new pathway relies heavily on therapeutic culture: You become an adult by overcoming the trauma of your past, whether that involved abusive parents, drug addiction, mental illness, or less flamboyant hardships. Young adults who take on this new def … [Read more...]

“When a Child Is a Second Chance”: Me at Acculturated

continuing the series of posts on penitence: When I opened Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City, I wasn’t expecting to include it in this series on portrayals of penitence. The new study by Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson picks up where Edin and Maria Kefalas’s 2005 Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage left off. Sticking with the same economically-depressed Philadelphia neighborhoods, Doing the Best I Can asks young men how they became fathers, how … [Read more...]


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