Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Young Money by Kevin Roose: Not enough data points

From where I’m sitting, this came out a couple of months ago. It was the talked-about book of the early spring, but it was eclipsed by Piketty and Lewis.

It is a quick read, as Roose is a good storyteller about these young people and their experiences on the street.  

My quick take though, is that it suffers a problem of focus.  In less than three hundred pages he covers the fictionalized lives of eight or so people. That breaks down to a little over thirty or so pages a person – less if you want to add in some time for analysis and reflection. The depth sits in this middle ground for me.  I don’t know enough about the characters he’s covering. Thankfully he reminds the reader of a character’s defining trait when he brings them back up (the people’s lives are interwoven in the text, not dealt with serially). But the problem is that there is not enough people to be able to say that this book speaks for all young money. It’s just some young money.