Liz Prato’s essay collection is illuminating, provocative, unflinching, a wonderfully thorough look at a generation — my generation — in all its strengths and flaws. An eloquent and powerful examination. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Liz Prato writes with clear vision about the generation that followed the baby boomers, the generation that today moves into the spaces created by that older generation. This book is a long-overdue examination and reconciliation of the people and the era. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Generation X was born between the legions of Baby Boomers and Millennials, and was all but written off as cynical, sarcastic slackers. Yet, Gen X's impact on culture and society is undeniable. In her revealing and provocative essay collection, Kids in America: Essays on Gen X, Liz Prato reveals a generation deeply affected by terrorism, racial inequality, rape culture, and mental illness in an era when none of these issues were openly discussed. Examined through the lens of her high school and family, Prato reveals a small, forgotten cohort shaped as much by Sixteen Candles and Beverly Hills, 90210, as it was by the Rodney King riots and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Prato is unflinching in asking hard questions of her peers about what behavior was then acceptable or overlooked, and how we reconcile those sins today. Kids in America illuminates a generation that is often cited, but rarely examined beyond the gloss of nostalgia.
"Kids in America is a kick-ass collection. Part memoir, part documentary, these probing and intimate essays take us through the grief, the freedom, the risk-taking, and the pain that shaped Generation X. Vivid and absorbing.” Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire
"Like a sociologist with a memoirist's sensibilities, Prato skillfully explores the environment that bred and defined Gen X, diving deeply into the sexist and racist mythologies of the era, excavating everything from pop culture to grief to violence." Gina Frangello, author of Blow Your House Down
"Kids in America vibrates like a coke high, while still managing to ask hard questions and find the spots of human failing and hope, as the best essays do." Monica Drake, Author of Clown Girl and The Stud Book
"A dazzling exploration into how cultures and identities criss-cross each other, Liz Prato's Kids in America traces how Gen X emerged from the fire and fury of a nation falling to pieces. Phenomenal." Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge: Stories and The Book of Joan
About the Author
Liz Prato is the author of Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai‘i, a 2019 New York Times Top Summer Read, and finalist for the Oregon Book Award; and Baby’s on Fire: Stories. Her essays and stories have appeared in numerous publications, including River Teeth, The Rumpus, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Salon, and Subtropics, and was chosen as notable selections for Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing in 2018. Prato is also Editor at Large for Forest Avenue Press, and has been a licensed massage therapist for over 25 years.