Back to high school

Books about teen-agers usually miss the point or belabor it, writes Tom Carson in The Atlantic. He makes fun of Freaks, Geeks, And Cool Kids: Teenagers, Schools, And The Culture Of Consumption and Teen TV: Genre, Consumption, and Identity. But Carson praises Michael Bamberger’s “vivid, engaing” Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School.

A reporter for Sports Illustrated, Bamberger spent the 2002-2003 school year embedded in Pennsbury High, an economically diverse (straddling Levittown and more-upscale areas), racially homogenous (85 percent white) Bucks County, Pennsylvania, school whose elaborate senior prom has become both an all-around community celebration and a regional legend. . . Wonderland isn’t just an uncommonly rich and intimate look at high school life; it’s the best piece of decent-minded, unpatronizing Americana I’ve read since Jim Wilson’s Vietnam-themed The Sons of Bardstown (1994).

In other countries, high school is the beginning of responsibility, Carson writes. In the U.S., it’s the beginning of freedom.

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  1. superdestroyer says:

    I think the more interesting study would be to study cliques and status in an all black inner city high school. What happens in a school when religion, social class, race, and culture do little create natural cliques. Even hollywood (such as in Law and Order, makes high schools multicultural to explain cliques.

    Also, is there anything in the US more anachronistic than the high school prom?

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I spent my senior prom night on the 20 mile forced march that completed Basic.

  3. lindenen says:

    I think the schools might improve if we put responsibility and freedom together.

  4. I can’t resist…

    “Right now we’ve got freedom and responsibility. Its a very groovy time.” (International Man of Mystery)

    — Kevin