July 27, 2009

The Secret Lives of Boys

Earl W., a blog subscriber in Tucson, came across a book review in the New York Times for: The Secret Lives of Boys: Inside the Raw Emotional World of Male Teens. The Times reviewer, Lori Gottlieb, said the book was, ". . . raw, emotional, funny, and astute." I found another review by Rachel Saslow at The Washington Post where she said, "The book ends up feeling more like a sociology lecture than the inside look at a 'raw, emotional world' that it promises to be." Contradictory opinions, but there you have life around teenage boys.

Malina Saval, the author of the book, profiles 10 young men. She lets each young male tell his own story. By the way of proof that there is no such thing as a normal adolescent male, these 10 young guys run the full spectrum of the boy universe. The boy's lives reflect mental health issues, amazingly dysfunctional family histories, drug abuse, too young parents . . . and much more. According to the author,all this diverse group of lads had in common was a desire for a true connection. Someone they could have a real conversation with about their painfully challenging lives.

As anyone working with adolescent males knows, they initially don't come across as verbal or self-aware. What you also learn about boys, given enough time and trust, is that most boys will, and in fact are hungry to open up. When that happens their stories are indeed raw, mostly truthful, smell a little of testosterone and bravado, and are very often profoundly emotional.

However imperfectly the book is written, the boy stories do indeed offer a peak into the rich and challenging lives of young males everywhere. In truth, the boys Saval profiles are not so different from the boys in the world around you. If you're thinking about getting involved in Man-Making work at any level, you may want to get this book.

I you have read this book, please share your thoughs with us via an email to me or by commenting on this post.

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