Review: The Anthropocene Reviewed

The Anthropocene Reviewed The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In general, John Green is a thoughtful and engaging writer of fiction and a highly amusing and fascinating YouTube star with his brother, Hank Green (seriously, the videos back and forth between these two are amazing, amusing, and authentic that demonstrates a positive form of white masculinity that is so needed today) and in this book, Green takes on an interesting idea; what would 5-star reviews look like if one were to review artifacts of the Anthropocene age (the time in which humans are impacting the Earth in clear--and somewhat irrevocable ways). The book is wide-range of reviews from songs to psychological states to geographic locations to events to food and beyond but it's so much more than that. Each review is an essay that reflects on the human nature embedded into the things that are being reviewed.  They can sometimes be deeply personal and connected to Green's life (many are), but can also be connected and discussed in larger historical terms.  All of them come together in well-composed short pieces that make you think not just about the thing reviewed, but also Green as a human, the world itself, and all the things in our lives that could be intentionally reviewed. Part of the fun of reading the reviews is that each one is accompanied with a 5-start rating at the end. As one reads the review, it can sometimes be hard to determine what the rating will be.  Therein lies some of Green's talent is that each review is given such attention and detail as if regardless of the thing reviewed, Green gives each review his full love and attention that one can sometimes be quite surprised with where he lands on the scale.  This is also a book that is deeply shaped by the pandemic (time in which it was written) and the recognition that environmental destruction of Earth in a way that means catastrophic harm to humanity is real. These ideas directly or indirectly show up in many of the reviews and it makes sense, given the book's title. Despite these two dark backdrops, there's still something wildly optimistic that comes through in Green's writing that makes this book one for folks everywhere to enjoy.

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