LOOKING BACK: A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties


                                        Published 1973, Doubleday


"We were dragged through the mud of Relevance and Grim Reality

and now we have a certain tough, I've-been-there attitude. We're

tired, often more from boredom than exertion, old without being

wise, worldly not from seeing the world but from watching it on

television."


Joyce at age 18, from the cover of Looking Back:

Let me tell you why I wrote this book. I am eighteen years old, which makes me a member, by age if nothing else, of what nonmembers call The Younger Generation. Now, maybe we aren't worth all the time and thought that's devoted to us, but the fact is that, deserving or not, we get it. We're told that we are apathetic, disillusioned, irresponsible, impractical. I think it's time we spoke for ourselves.


So here is what one young person thinks about Young People and about using drugs and sleeping with boyfriends and dropping out to buy land in Vermont and live off the soil, about not caring any more what happens on election day but caring passionately about music and Jesus. Also about hitchhiking, and health food, and denim over-alls with holes in the seat.


And because you can't really know where we are and how we got here without knowing where we've been, this is also a book about high school soccer games and drinking parties and taking College Boards and going on dates and not going on dates.


Some of the memories are personal. I don't presume to be a spokesman for all my generation. But because we are media children, because the Beatles and the Kennedys were close as relatives, some of the memories are national, even universal. If there's a main theme, a single result of our sixties experience, I think it's the idea of growing up old, feeling not disillusionment so much as weariness. If chronicling my youth at eighteen seems strange, it is the prematurely aging sixties that make me look back, already, at what most people turn to only in old age.



READ A PORTION OF “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life”

(THE ORIGINAL NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE ARTICLE THAT LAUNCHED THIS BOOK)



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