Book by: Tim Elmore
Review by: Marisa J. Stevenson
University of Minnesota-Morris
It’s the last chance to save their future. It’s the pivotal point between connecting with this generation of young adults and losing them all together to technology and underdeveloped social skills. Generation Y, or Millennials, are the young people of society born between 1984 and 2002. Elmore draws a difference between generation Y and generation iY. Those born after 1990, iY (‘i’ for internet), by no fault of their own, have become a generation with an unequivocal zeal for being over-connected, over-served, overwhelmed, and overprotected.
While Generation iY is an accurate (though somewhat superficial and rudimentary) assessment of the cultural implications and concerns around this generation, the book loses merit inherently by highlighting the President of Chick-fil-A (an openly homophobic and stiff conservative company) off the top, in the forward. The rest of the read is stinted by the openly Evangelical Christian, conservative, and heteronormative perspective – quite the turnoff when simply wanting to gather information about characteristics of a certain population.
Elmore draws a relatively somber picture of the state of the youth in the country and the job advisors, educators, parents, and the like have to do in order to save the future of this generation. The book is laced with pertinent correlations of underachieving, yet anxious and pressured young adults whose parents have become “helicopters” that ultimately stint their success (p. 99). Elmore uses plenty of examples to highlight the down falls, as well as focuses on the intrinsic strengths of the iY generation – versatility, diverse, open to diversity etc. Elmore also draws applicable insight into how to relate and help the iY generation ignite their strengths in ways that capture their aptitude for success and versatility. While Elmore’s findings are supported by research (sometimes, though sometimes not very strongly), the research aspect ends up being one of the main highlights of the book, only because the rest is easily criticized.
Additionally, this book is flawed in that whenever gender is brought up, homosexuality or “gender bending” (p. 83), Elmore dismisses it and attributes it as a problem in household chemicals, such as BPA used in plastic. BPA mimics estrogen when ingested and thus, creating unbalanced levels of hormones, produce sexual misappropriations in both girls and boys (p. 83). Moreover, an entire chapter is devoted to the “special” problem of generation iY boys, whose education has been spoiled due to “misguided feminist educators” (p. 82). In that same chapter, Elmore (2010) worries about the devaluation of masculinity, and the absence of the questions, can one win the affection of a beautiful woman, and is one competent to provide, among young men (p. 87).
To gain a general sense of the cultural implications of this generation, the book works. However, Elmore becomes preachy and redundant to the point of annoyance. In conclusion, what detracts from the useful message of this book, is Elmore’s clear personal religious and moral beliefs. The content of the book becomes skewed to the rightwing agenda and framed through a heteronormative lens. He would have been better off writing an article highlighting his experiences and findings rather than a book. I would not recommend this book for more than basic knowledge of Millennials.
Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. (2010). Book by Tim Elmore. Review by Marisa J. Stevenson. Atlanta, GA: Poet Gardner Publishing. 228 pp., $16.99 (Paperback). ISBN 978-0-578-06355-3