“The Anthropocene Reviewed” is a series of essays written by John Green, reviewing “different facets of the human-centered planet on a five star scale.” What originally started as a podcast produced by Complexly and WNYC studios in January of 2018, eventually became John Green’s first non-fiction book in May of 2021. It debuted as the number one New York Times bestseller.
Anthropocene is a word that describes the modern era, or the current geological age, where humans are affecting everything on the planet. Green credits his brother, Hank Green, in the introduction of the book with saying, “As a person… your biggest problem is other people. You are vulnerable to people, and reliant upon them. But imagine instead you are a twenty-first-century river, or desert or polar bear. Your biggest problem is still people. You are still vulnerable to them, and reliant upon them.” I quite like that definition of anthropocene.
“As a person… your biggest problem is other people. You are vulnerable to people, and reliant upon them. But imagine instead you are a twenty-first-century river, or desert or polar bear. Your biggest problem is still people. You are still vulnerable to them, and reliant upon them.”— John Green quoting his brother Hank Green in “The Anthropocene Reviewed”
This accessible series of essays includes various excerpts, often-times vulnerable, from Green’s life up to this point. Several of the essays include mentions of his struggles with faith, OCD and depression. I think it’s best to go into the book somewhat blind, but also to be on the lookout for hidden reviews throughout.
Despite having listened to the podcast regularly before reading the book, it still felt fresh and honest, not recycled or contrived. The book excludes some previous podcast episode topics, and includes brand new essays. My favorite essays? “Harvey,” “Super Mario Kart” and “The World’s Largest Ball of Paint.”
Summed up in three words/phrases, “The Anthropocene Reviewed” is honest, charming, and thought-provoking.
Green ends each essay with a rating of the topic on a five-star scale, so I’ll do the same for this review. I give “The Anthropocene Reviewed” five stars.
Until next time,