©2005 Richard Louv; (P)2007 Recorded Books
The thorough review of current studies around Nature Deficit Disorder is fascinating. I added more bookmarks to this audiobook than any other I've downloaded.
It is unfortunate that as the book draws to a close, Louv lays religion on thickly. I was brought up in a Christian community in the deep south. As a kid, I explored nature endlessly and experienced the spiritual awe described in the book.
As an adult atheist (of the pleasant variety), my sense of awe in nature has only increased. Implying that my experience should in some way be linked to religion or a supernatural deity is just silliness and cheapens an otherwise wonderful book.
Last Child in the Woods helped to solidify many of my thoughts and feelings that my wife and I have been having. It has inspired us to work harder at converting every scrap of our home into a sustainable, natural setting for our child to enjoy.
I was originally reading this book for my environmental psychology class but I have to say I soon couldn't put it down (which hardly ever happens with required reading books). This book was well written and brings up a lot of interesting thoughts. It pulls you in and makes you question if the things we do to help our children are actually subtly harming them in the long run. It brought up memories from my own childhood and made me reflect on how they have impacted my life and how todays children will never learn some of the lessons we learned when we were younger just by being given the freedom to explore.
If you like this book I would also recommend watching the documentary Play again. It revisits a lot of the same ideas but you see them in action.
There is no other book in the world like this one! The studies, the stories, they're unsurpassed by any other nature book I've read. Unfortunately this reader has the ability to douse in chloroform even the most interesting of subjects. It took me over 7 months to finish this audiobook because I kept falling asleep to his hypnotic, rhythmic cadence. Read the book, but be warned: he reads like a relaxing robot.
The book put to words my passion for nature that I developed by age 9. It has inspired me to make sure my young family members have a chance to explore the outdoors the same as my parents allowed me.
Louv does excellent work balancing nature and the built environment. Obviously we have to have home, workplaces and colleges but we also need the natural environment. I don't think there's a problem building cities but as Louv points out there can be better balance between nature and the built environment than we currently have.
I enjoyed this book but it is obvious the author thinks that every kid should grow up exactly as he did. He uses bits of science to support the theory that if children do not have an opportunity to build a tree house, they are somehow short changed and will grow up disadvantaged. I agree with part of that and it would be nice to think that all kids could have unlimited access to the outdoors, but there are now over 300 million of us in the US alone. There are always people who can't accept that fact that things change.
This book had a lot of potential to address the very important issue of children being alienated from nature. Unfortunately, its approach is entirely anecdotal, with few hard facts. Furthermore, it often wonders far off topic (e.g. the alleged health benefits of owning a pet).
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