King of the Wild Suburb:
Michael Messner, already known for his nuanced explorations of masculinities in sport, here humanely explores the evolving, often confusing dynamics of masculinities between three generations of boys and men. This candid memoir will make engrossing reading for both seasoned scholars and newcomers to gender studies.
For decades, feminist scholars, memoirists, and novelists have explored the lineaments of mother-daughter relationships, yet the world of fathers and sons has garnered relatively little attention. In his closely observed memoir, King of the Wild Suburb, noted Gender Studies scholar Michael Messner opens up the affective terrain between fathers and sons, and in the process deepens and complicates our understanding of masculinity.
Michael Messner's reflections on coming of age in the pivotal Sixties deftly captures the fault lines that separated so many young men and women from the lives of their parents and grandparents. It was, perhaps, easier for young women to rebel and choose careers over homemaking than it was for young men to opt out of a culture that made war, guns, and hunting the anchors of manhood. King of the Wild Suburb helps us understand how masculinity has changed, albeit still precariously, making it possible to maintain a fidelity to one's past while passing on to the next generation a freedom to explore new ways to be a man.
Jan E. Dizard
The Salinas Californian
154 pages, $14.95
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