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Coming of Age in Babylon

by Doug DeBias

New Spring, 1998

I'm not sure if this is some cultural bellwether, but I think the self-help section of bookstores appears to grow at about the same proportion as the history section shrinks. Coming of Age in Babylon , intended as for teenagers transitioning into young adulthood, will probably get lumped in with Chicken Soup for Kindergartens in Venus , but it's a bit more unique than the company it keeps. For one, it comes with a CD of music, with several tracks from southeastern stars like Danielle Howle, Nutrajet, Alastor, Kenny Howes, Three Finger Cowboy, etc. -- it's a great collection of music, "good music" as the author calls it, with a generally positive message. Most of the book advises values that seem to be vanishing quickly -- tolerance, responsibility, more spirituality and less consumerism. Independence and self-containment seem to be big subtexts, too. The tone dances between friendly and advisory, with the occasional swearword thrown in for great effect. If you've got rebellious teens (I don't) who need a little bit of common sense advice that isn't coming from a parent, this is definitely a good find. It's also a good refresher for adults, as it'll make you think your values through.

New Spring Publications, , Princeton, NJ 08540; http://www.comingofageinbabylon.com

--Jason Plender