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Twentysomething: Surviving and Thriving in the Real World 
Author: Margaret Feinberg 
Publisher W Publishing Group 
Length: 188 pages 

This is a new one.  We have the mid-life crisis.  The anxieties of old age.   The empty-nest syndrome.   And now, the quarterlife crisis. 

In her new book, Twentysomething: Surviving and Thriving in the Real World, Margaret Feinberg introduced this reviewer to what is, according to her, a symptom afflicting those in their twenties. 

In short, the quarterlife crisis is the official name of what people in their twenties have doubtless been experiencing for decades.  That being, the search for identity, a restless wandering in a world suddenly bereft of the comfort and predictability of college and home. It is, gasp!, the real world. 

Leave it to our label-happy society to coin another term for another phase of one’s life. 

Anyway, in her well-articulated, briskly-written self-help book for those drudging through their twenties, Feinberg offers sage advice in how to make the most of what can be a difficult period of transition for many people.  

Feinberg accurately addresses the present-day issues that many twentysomethings are feeling:  disillusionment, a desire for community and relationships, and dealing with the realities of the professional world.    She augments her opinions with a profusion of insights from those in their twenties who have struggled and overcome their sundry issues. 

The author not only offers a commentary of the quandaries the twentysomething encounters, but she also dispenses practical advice grounded in the Scriptures.   In keeping with the easy-read vibe of the book, the lessons are certainly not profound, but nicely digestible. 

Despite its assets, Twentysomething suffers from a painfully noticeable weakness. 

While purportedly a book written for those in their twenties, the subject matter is blatantly aimed at those who are college-educated Christians, i.e. those people who have yet to live in the real world. While there are certainly a percentage of people in their twenties who experienced the college life with its summer jobs, dorm room antics, and shelter from the rigors of real life, a significant number of others have engaged in decidedly different lifestyles.  For many people, their twenties were ALWAYS about real life, not just after they graduated from college (if they even went to college at all). 

Feinberg sadly ignores an important segment of the twentysomething population and this detracts mightily from the overall message of the book, not to mention limits the audience she intends to reach. 

A final note to add.  Although Feinberg talks about how tough the twenties are, she ends the book by exalting about all of the opportunities to pursue whatever dream you can think of.  That is all well and good, but what is this book about: accepting the responsibility of real life or championing an extended stay at the post-college fantasyland hotel?  You decide. 

If you are a recent college graduate struggling with reality, this book is for you.  For the rest of us working stiffs, inspiration would be better sought elsewhere. 

Noel Lloyd 7/31/04 

 

 
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