Just Chillin’

July 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm (Book Review) (, , , )

This isn’t a new release, but I made a decision to myself that I would review all of my college textbooks as I go along, because some texts are clearly better than others.

Just Chillin’ is a case study of adolescent development. It takes place at a Middle School near Baltimore Maryland, a primarily middle to upper middle class community in a suburban neighborhood. It follows several students in 6th, 7th or 8th grade, with each student chosen to highlight a particular aspect of adolescent development. Eric represents the family relations aspect, Lily the social aspect. Another student, Jackie was representative of “the average sexual experiences of middle school students” I put this in quotes not because it is directly from the text, but to underscore my sarcasm at this. I think that this book has an overly naive view of how middle school students are, and how inexperienced they are these days.

I think that the author went through considerable effort to produce an entertaining and readable case study, but because it reads more like a novel, I was surprised to find it was actually a researched case study. Perhaps I just didn’t do my homework, but the casual tone of this makes it less believable as a properly performed case study. I also question the value of this book for a course on adolescent development in a program that focuses on inner city middle schools.  Our students don’t have the kind of family structure or lifestyle that is portrayed in the book. I would like to see a case study along the same lines at a type of middle school that is far more common.

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