Contrary to popular belief (my own), I did manage to knock a couple books off the McPolish Summer Reading List. Thanks to the book club I joined when I moved back to Chicago, one of those books was The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, by Alexandra Robbins.
I was excited about this book. I’d heard good things. I dove in eagerly. And then….huh. It was good. Engaging, for the most part. But ultimately, it fell a little flat for me.
As one of my book club cohorts put it in her post-meeting wrap-up email, “the book itself sparked a lot of dialogue. In the end, most everyone agreed that while the author had the best of intentions, and introduced us to some great characters and interesting storylines, her overall message of ‘it will all change after high school is over’ was not exactly accurate. Our conversation about the book, and high school, lead most of us to the conclusion that cliques can and do still exist after high school; but no one really cares about them anymore.”
Well said. And true. I liked reading the stories about the “cafeteria fringe” as Robbins labels them, and getting to know them through their likes and dislikes, and see how they feel when it comes to interacting with their peers that they themselves deal with via labels—normal, popular, goths, weirdos, etc. But I never felt like Robbins was delivering any information that I hadn’t already heard, and most perplexing is that the book stops while the kids are still in high school. I don’t know if Robbins is going to do a follow-up on these kids in a decade or so, but I would hope she is. After all, this book is based on the premise that the “geeks” and “outcasts” and other kids defined (by their peers and adults) as not being in the “normal” crowd are the ones who do better in life. But these kids are only just going off to college in some cases, and in other cases when we leave them they still have a year or so left of high school. We have no idea how they will fare in life. We cannot determine as of yet if their “geek” status was a help or a hindrance.
Final grade: B
Have you read the book? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!