The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

The Geeks Shall Inherit the EarthWhen I heard that Alexandra Robbins had written a new book I was intrigued. I’d read The Overachievers which I found enlightening and somewhat disturbing (my teens were attending the school featured in the book). The fact that Robbins’ new book was about the “unpopular” kids this time made me excited to read it, mostly because of baggage from my own high school experience where I was, not so much a geek, but definitely not popular.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth follows a similar format as The Overachievers did. Several high school students were followed during the course of one school year. While Robbins’ focused on one high school in The Overachievers, she chose students from different high schools around the country in The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. In both books, however, she interviewed many other students as well.

Robbins does a good job pulling you into the lives of the individuals she interviewed. I was compelled to cheer for the loner, the nerd, the new girl, the gamer, the weird girl and the band geek. Not so much the popular bitch, however. While I understand why Robbins chose to include her among the others, I felt little compassion for her. I felt more sympathy for her mother who at one point in the book says, “This is the most pleasant you’ve been basically since you were born”.

If I had to summarize my feelings about The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth in one word it would be “Duh”. What Robbins’ tells us in the book is not news. While reading it, I cannot remember how many times the topic came up in various media (tv shows, movies, songs, news broadcasts, newspaper articles, etc).  This may have been because my mind was on the subject. In fact, in the Showtime series, “Weeds”, one of the (teenage) characters says something about wishing to live in a world where geeks would rule the world someday.

While other people I know who have read this book find that Robbins’ analysis is not as solid as the storylines of the individuals, I don’t agree. While what Robbins terms Quirk Theory (what sets students apart in high school is what helps them stand out later in life) is not a new idea, the way she frames it and supports it with extant research is new, at least to me.

Much of what was in this book was painful for me to read because it reminded me of my own middle and high school experiences.  When my daughter was struggling with friendships and lack of popularity in high school I’d tell her that once she was out of high school none of that was going to matter and that she’d end up being more interesting than the kids that were popular in high school.

Disclaimer: While I bought one copy the author sent me a free copy as well.
Cross-posted to Amazon.

July 29, 2011. 2011, The Year of Reading Leisurely, would recommend.

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