The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen

3 Stars

teenage brain

This book falls into a hole. It’s really quite technical for everyday reading, but Jensen has made a clear effort to “dumb it down.” At times, this is useful, but others, the effort is wasted, because I honestly cannot imagine anyone reading this if they don’t work directly with teenagers and/or have an interest in psychology. While I appreciated the diagrams and charts, teachers, librarians, social workers, and such will understand the language well enough without some of the more simplistic examples.

The science is sound enough. The experiments mentioned are relevant, though they’re also a bit obviously biased at times. While Jensen knows her psychology, however, she struggles with the social aspect of teens. She references her own teenagers several times, but mentions that they were in high school in 2005. I graduated in 2006 and I can guaran-damn-tee that teenagers, high school, and the entire social dynamic tied up between them has changed exponentially in the last 10 years. For example, on page one, she’s horrified that her son would want to dye his hair a non-natural color.

Walk into a public high school today and I’d say a good quarter of them have non-natural hair color… in the suburbs.

In general, I enjoyed the book. I’m fascinated by the effect of media on children and feel that teenagers are often overlooked, lumped in with adults. We worry until they aren’t cute anymore. Jensen doesn’t. She’s just a little out of touch with current teens.

Review Word Count: 243