When I first started reading this book, I was struck by how manky it was, chronicling the experiences of people who in the book are referred to as “bohemian” but who might today be called “hipster”. Lately, though, I’m beginning to think that if all the world’s a stage, then one might as well act the life one wants to live to have a fighting chance of achieving it, and ignore the troubling sensation of being a poseur for a while.

Quite soon I began to get into the book though. For one, the writing is great. It uses a device of the characters telling stories to each other, which is quite a good writing strategy if you have lots of sharp short bits that don’t quite seem to logically string together. It also has these very portmanteau words and phrases in the margins of each page.


The book is supposed to reflect our parents’ generation but it resonated quite a bit with me (or maybe I fall into that generation, I’m perennially confused). Of course, it had some very Americana references like the Vietnam War and the pervasive paranoia of The Bomb.

genx - history

But the reason that this book will probably hold good for a long time is because the categories of people described may quite possibly be timeless, or at least relevant for a while. Actually, it will be interesting to see if this is true as time goes by. Will our children see us as Andrew did his nostalgia-clinging parents and see their juniors as he did his brother Tyler? Maybe it’s inevitable that we go through these stages, though the social climate we live in does impact us.

gen x - gen y

gen x- parents

Here are some more quotes from the book:

genxgenx - housegenx-middle class

We’re not built for free time as a species. We think we are, but we aren’t” She was saying that most of us have only two or three genuinely interesting moments in our lives, the rest is filler , and that at the end of our lives, most of us will be lucky if any of those moments connect together to form a story that anyone would find remotely interesting.

This book was on this list recommended to me by Curly. I’ve liked almost every book on it.