Review of John Green's The Anthropocene Reviewed
By Isabelle Scott
In a masterful blend of objective information, Green’s own personal experiences, and the larger implications for humanity, John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet expands one’s personal understanding of the world and what it means to be a human being living in it. In this uniquely formatted book, Green thoughtfully researches and explains a variety of seemingly random objects, including essay topics ranging from “Our
Capacity for Wonder,” and “Halley’s Comet,” to “Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Stickers,” and “Diet Dr Pepper.” Each essay is short, informative, insightful, and often surprisingly touching and emotional. His unique style which at first glance appears to read almost like a silly series of Yelp reviews, upon further inspection proves to be a methodical analysis and exploration of complex ideas such as capitalism, sexism, racism, the human relationship with the environment, mental health, love, and what it means to be a living, breathing human being. In his introduction to the
book, Green explains,
“It has taken me all my life up to now to fall in love with the world, but I’ve started to feel it the last couple of years. To fall in love with the world isn’t to ignore or overlook suffering, both human and otherwise. For me anyway, to fall in love with the world is to look up at the night sky and feel your mind swim before the beauty and the distance of the stars. It is to hold your children while they cry, to watch as the sycamore trees leaf out in June. When my breastbone starts to hurt, and my throat tightens, and tears well in my eyes, I want to look away from feeling. I want to deflect with irony, or anything else that will keep me from feeling directly. We all know how loving ends. But I want to fall in love with the world anyway, to let it crack me open. I want to feel what there is to feel while I am here.
Sendak ended [an] interview with the last words he ever said in public: ‘Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.’
Here is my attempt to do so.”
I rate John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed five stars.