Select one of the keywords
Unhooked Generation: The Truth About Why We're Still Single    by Jillian Straus order for
Unhooked Generation
by Jillian Straus
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

As Jillian Straus sets out to tell us why so many single people today are 'frustrated, confused and even depressed about their romantic lives', she begins with her own story. Having been raised by parents who were not only faithful to each other, but unbelievably committed to their relationship and their family, Jillian found herself wondering why she and her friends couldn't find that kind of love. Why was it so difficult? 'How hard could it be, after all, to court and pair up?'

The answer, as it happens, isn't a simple one. Nor is it one many of us want to hear. With an excellent mixture of extreme sensitivity and blunt openness, Straus uses real-life stories of single men and women between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-nine to illustrate the expectations, pressures and demands of dating in our highly technological, fast-paced world. Never preachy or condescending, Straus's frank statements peel back the layers of Generation X and reveal 'the truth about why we're still single'.

The book is well organized, with chapters that flow wonderfully from one to the next, always integrating revelations and lessons learned from previous sections. Each chapter contains real-world examples that illustrate the theme being emphasized. Throughout, particular terms are highlighted in bold. These terms - such as hookup, checklist, starter marriage and booty call - are familiar to many young singles. Perhaps more than anything else in this book, terms such as these and their definitions serve to highlight the difference between Gen-Xers and their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. A dictionary defining the unique terms used throughout is thoughtfully provided at the end of the book for easy reference.

With deliberate care, the author introduces concepts such as 'The Seven Evil Influences', cultural and social factors that affect the search for a meaningful relationship. Each influential factor is defined in detail. Explanations are further punctuated with real-world examples that are surprisingly easy to relate to. I found myself nodding as I read, recognizing myself or my friends in many of them. The book then continues to explore our generation's 'Outrageous Expectations', such as 'The Checklist' we use to measure potential mates and the presumption that we'll all end up with 'The Soulmate'.

Unhooked Generation is the rare kind of non-fiction read that offers universal appeal. Though I'm not single, nor looking for 'The Upgrade' to my spouse, I found the book eye-opening on many levels. I could suddenly understand what my single friends have been going through while I've spent my Saturday nights content with a movie, a bowl of popcorn, and my husband. And lest I give you the impression that the book offers only negative portrayals of Gen-Xers looking for love, quite the opposite is true. Each chapter has a distinctly optimistic feel. The final chapter focuses on 'Finding True Love' and offers stories of happily married couples who have found that elusive connection so many people seek.

Unhooked Generation is a wonderfully insightful book, and a must-read for anyone looking for love in all the wrong (and right) places, or trying to understand those who are.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews