Book Review: The Anthropecene Reviewed by John Green

Official definition of “Anthropocene”: relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

I don’t think I can still explain what the word means but it is definitely a word I had never heard of till I saw this title. John Green got tired of his usual subject matters and decided to do something different and write about the different anthropocenes that humans have experienced over time. It seems so simple but then it’s so…brilliant. It’s brilliant because Green managed to find a way to give himself leeway to write about anything really.

This idea means, we are blessed with chapters and chapters of varying topics that would have no business being together but worked so well. One minute you are reading about Dr. Pepper and how it isn’t a natural flavor and the next it is about the yips and then about his state of residency, Indianapolis.

“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.”

I am having an uninspired reading year and Leggy recommended this book to me. I would like to add that my introduction to John Green was also by Leggy when she made me read “The Fault in Our Stars”. When I first started the book, I was all “meh” but as I kept going I felt myself getting drawin in by the stories. It’s impossible not to find anything of interest because the topics are so wide and varied.

I did not know a lot about Green so this book was a discovery for me. A discovery in that Green found a way to make this book a learning opportunity in multiple ways. I got to learn a lot of random facts about things I did not know previously; but I also got to learn a lot about him as a person such as he is a fellow soccer fan (Liverpool fan but we can forgive him for that!), I loved learning about his relationship with his brother and as a fellow anxiety sufferer I felt seen with Chapter 30’s story, “Mortification” as he described replaying a convo over and over in his head. I also didn’t know that this book is based on a podcast of the same name and are stories he has already covered (I think 6 new stories were added for the book)

This seems little but it felt refreshing to read a book that was caught up in times in that he referenced the pandemic. I know we all want an escape but I think as a non-fiction read, it would have been weird to talk about the anthropocene and skip that especially since it was basically his worst fear realized. I will say that I did think the book was looong but that’s not unusual for a collection of stories.

I enjoyed this book and it truly is a testament to how good of a writer Green is because this could have veered towards boring-town real quick. I think this would make a good bedtime read, where one reads a chapter every night and it gives you something to think about. You gotta love a book that makes you learn, think, introspect and hopefully grow. I did this on audio and would recommend that format. Thanks Leggy!


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