Deborah's Reviews > The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins
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Jun 23, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

Reading Alexandra Robbins' non-fiction is kind of like eating candy that you later find out is good for you. Her writing is story-like so that you're absorbed by every real life person she writes about as if it were a great novel, and later you realize that you have learned from the book without realizing it.
With that in mind, I was glued to the book, and eager to find out how the characters would be doing by the end of the book (particularly Blue and Whitney, although all were appealing).
The Overachievers is an excellent balance of personal stories through high school students striving to have excellent GPA's in high school and go to good colleges, and interviews from experts in the education and psychology fields. In this book, while all of her real life characters are appealing, her research and presentation of "quirk theory" didn't really keep me drawn in and didn't teach me anything new. She is inserted into the story a lot more here than in The Overachievers, (she gives the students she's documenting an assignment or a challenge) which didn't really work for me. She did not approach this book like a journalist. She instead approached it like a self help author, and that weakened the story for me.
Another thing that bothered me -- according to a Washington Post review, she reconstructed a lot of the dialogue that is quoted in the book. That's fine -- it happens. However, she doesn't really challenge that her subjects may not be being truthful 100 percent of the time. Not to say that they're lying, but I know that when I was sixteen, the way I interpreted the things that my parents said verses what my parents actually said were often two different things. With that in mind, I'd have loved some interviews with the parents and teachers involved with the documented characters. I think it would have only added to the way that "geeks" are truly perceived.
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