11 July 2019, The Tablet

Tips for teens by a former headmaster of Eton and a child psychiatrist

Tips for teens by a former headmaster of Eton and a child psychiatrist

Beware the smartphone algorithm …
PA/DPA, Karl-Josef Hildenbrand


Adolescence, How to Survive It: Insights for Parents, Teachers and Young Adults
(Bloomsbury continuum, 256 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • Tel 020 7799 4064

It sounds like a brilliant idea to put a former Eton headmaster together with a child psychiatrist to write a book about adolescence. Between them, Tony Little and Herb Etkin have a vast amount of experience and knowledge on the subject, which is an extremely topical one – not least because of the changes wrought on young lives by social media. If you add the fact that parents, whatever their views on private education, might well be curious about what goes on at Eton, and that they can more easily afford £16.99 than £40,000 a year, it’s surely going to be a winner, even in a crowded field.

There is much that’s useful and interesting, especially in the chapters on Food, Addictions and “Screenagers”: as expected, both of the authors know their stuff. But the presentation of it gets badly in the way: chunks of the book are written as a conversation between the two men, set out like the script of a play, in the manner adopted by John Cleese and Robyn Skynner in their books Families and How to Survive Them and Life and How to Survive It.

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