Mallory's Reviews > Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties

Emerging Adulthood by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: emerging-adult, non-fiction, professional
Read from July 29 to August 02, 2011

This was one of those books I wish I read when I was 18. Arnett elegantly describes exactly what emerging adults today are experiencing and all of the chaos that goes along with it! Using ethnographic methods, he outlines what it means to be an emerging adult and backs up his theories with countless case studies. While it is told through the American perspective, his ideas are easily transferable to other industrialized cultures.

In short, an emerging adult is generally someone between 18 and 25 years old, who feels as though they are not quite an adult yet and definitely not an adolescent. This feeling of being in-between is one of the defining characteristics of this life stage, as well as the need for exploration in work and love, feelings of instability, being self-focused, and feeling as though you have limitless possibilities. Emerging adults feel that they will have reached adulthood only when they can accept full responsibility for themselves, make independent decisions, and become financially independent. This is quite different from the traditional view that landmarks such as marriage, buying your first home, becoming a parent, beginning your career, etc. indicate the transition into adulthood. While these are still important things for emerging adults, they don’t put as much emphasis in such achievements as they do the specific character traits listed above.

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