Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape

Jay Griffiths

Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular, captured her imagination: Why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy -- and why is it that children in many traditional cultures seem happier? In Kith, Jay Griffiths explores these questions and many more. Moving from communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children's affinity for the natural world and the essential quest element of childhood. 3.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication May 2013
ISBN 978-0241144343
Publisher Hamish Hamilton
 

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in various cultures. One central riddle, in particular, captured her imagination: Why are so many children in Euro-American cultures unhappy -- and why is it that children in many traditional cultures seem happier? In Kith, Jay Griffiths explores these questions and many more. Moving from communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children's affinity for the natural world and the essential quest element of childhood.

Reviews

The Independent

Rebecca Loncraine

I didn't just read this book; I revelled in it … Kith is an unabashedly Romantic rallying cry for childhood to be seen again as a sacred and natural state from which adults can learn. This book is playful and polemical, emotional and imaginative. It's as vital as play itself.

03/05/2013

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The Literary Review

Joanna Kavenna

Passionate, wilful and supremely honest … I’d rather have this book — which I sometimes disagreed with — a hundred times over than another all-balancing, all-placating musing that dissolves upon reading and is never thought of again. Jay Griffiths is fervent, scintillating and uninhibited. You emerge feeling you have heard someone speaking about her experience of the world, telling you what she thinks and not censoring herself.

01/05/2013

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The Guardian

Mary Beard

Appealing as these arguments are, the trouble with Kith is that Griffiths just doesn't know when to stop. It's a classic case of a good idea pursued much too far, and of complexity and counterargument brushed under the carpet — so far under the carpet that at one particularly silly moment she likens the modern treatment of children to a particularly vicious form of antisemitism.

20/04/2013

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The Observer

Alexander Linklater

Griffiths's affinity for English Romanticism too easily descends into merely dotty navel-gazing … It's one thing to sing the lament of your own lost childhood; it's another to compose a reactionary ideology of all childhood around it.

28/04/2013

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The Sunday Times

Jenni Russell

... 300 pages of sentimentality, irrelevance, naivety and breathtakingly self-indulgent, uncontrolled prose ... There are some books that demand to be read aloud, because their prose or their ideas are simply too astounding to keep to oneself. Jay Griffiths’s latest book is one of these. I couldn’t stop quoting from it to anyone who passed my sofa or rang me up while I was reading it. Unfortunately that’s because it’s mesmerisingly, shockingly bad.

21/04/2013

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